Visitors to Wallowa County quickly discover the wide range of unique experiences available within view of this amazing range of mountains. Plan a picnic on the rim of the continent’s deepest canyon. Ride a tramway to a cafe’ at 8,000 feet elevation. Watch hawks soar over a native-grass prairie. Sip craft beer or savor artisan chocolates beside a bronze cowboy. Pedal with a partner on an old railroad!
We love reading about adventures in Eastern Oregon and Joseph Branch Railriders! Check out these articles, published in the LA Times last summer. They were written by Robert Reid, a globe-trotting Portland-based travel writer and new fan of Eastern Oregon:
During a recent visit to Northeast Oregon, Portland television reporter Grant McOmie produced a segment for Grant’s Getaways on the Joseph Branch Railriders. The episode aired September 18, 2015, and can be viewed on the KGW and Travel Oregon websites.
Grant’s Getaways is produced in a partnership between Travel Oregon, the state tourism agancy, and KGW TV, Portland’s NBC affiliate. McOmie travels throughout Oregon to gather and tell the stories of the state’s richest experiences, sights and traditions.
He also visited the Oregon Coast Railriders, view that video below:
Portland, Oregon, bike enthusiast Jonathon Maus came to Northeast Oregon to experience the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway on a bike. His visit was through a partnership with Cycle Oregon, organizers of the annual bicycle event of the same name.
While traveling through Joseph, Jonathon took the time to experience Joseph Branch Railriders and to talk about tourism with us. Read his blog at BikePortland.org.
Joseph Branch Railriders was pleased to host a crew from OPB’s Oregon Field Guide recently, as the crew taped a future segment for the award-winning television program that focuses on Oregon’s amazing outdoors. Ed Jahn, producer, and Nick Fisher, videographer/editor, arrived mid-afternoon, Friday, September 12. They stopped by the store front on Joseph’s Main Street to introduce themselves, then scoped out the operation and along the route, filming as guests pedaled past. Local Rotary Club members were the rail riders for the Saturday morning departure, following instructions that allowed the crew to acquire the live action shots they need to produce a several-minute segment. Filming continued all day Saturday, then took up again Sunday morning with a little time at the storefront where we sell the tickets. The crew shot lots of raw video footage which will be edited into a “short” that will be broadcast late March or April 2015.
“We are anxious to see the final product,” said Anita. “Ed predicts we will be very busy next summer.”
Have you ever longed to travel unused portions of an old railroad? The Joseph Branch Railriders offers just that experience. Railriders travel inactive portions of the Wallowa Union Railroad, also known as the Joseph Branch. New this year are two options for where to ride. Both are great activities for families or groups looking for something different to do. All ages will enjoy this must-do adventure.
OPTION 1: Guests travel from Joseph to Enterprise then back for a total of 12 miles. Allow two hours for this guided adventure that all ages can enjoy. The average percent drop to Enterprise is 1.5%. Most guests can do this but your guide can assist in your return if asked.
OPTION 2: For the more hearty set, begin at Minam Town then pedal up the gentle 1% grade to the quaint town of Wallowa and back to Minam for a 26 mile round trip adventure. You’re sure to enjoy the independence and beautiful scenery of this ride.
TICKET OFFICE: 304 North Main Street, Joseph open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Monday, during the operating season. Located next to Red Horse Coffee Traders. Reservations are accepted online, for help email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 541-910-0089; or visit the store front mid-May thru early October, Thursday thru Monday. Reservations are advised but not required.
DEPARTURE SITES: Option One- Joseph to Enterprise departure site is located directly behind the Chief Joseph Rodeo grounds West on Alder Street. Plan to arrive 10 minutes before your schedules departure. Option two, Minam to the town of Wallowa begins and ends at Minam Town, located 39 miles Northeast of Joseph on Oregon Highway 82. Allow at least 45 minutes driving time to arrive by 9am.
SCHEDULE: The season begins May 20 and closes for the season October 9, 2017. Open Thursday thru Monday. Option One from Joseph, twenty guest total, has three departures, 9 a.m., 12 NOON and 3 p.m. from Joseph. Allow 2 hours. Option Two, 12 guests total, one departure per day from Minam at 9 a.m. Return it no later than 4 p.m. for the day adventure.
FEES- Option 1: $22 per adult (12 years and older), $10 per child under 12 for up to twenty guests.
Option 2: $48 per person for up to 12 guests.
Joseph Branch Railriders is a new business in Joseph, Oregon. Kim and Anita Metlen developed the unique vehicle that rides the rails of the historic Joseph Branch Railway over the winter of 2013-2014 and began offering rides in May 2014. Response from passengers has been terrific. Here is a quote from a recent rider:
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“We really enjoyed meeting you both, and we got such a huge kick out of the Joseph Branch Railriders excursion. What a fun way to see the countryside, and what fun it was to chat with you about all things cycling too….” Emily & Mark Fagan (see their Road Less Traveled blog about their Railriders adventure.)
Railrides are available Friday, Saturday and Sunday, departing at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Purchase your tickets at 304 North Main Street in Joseph.
Watch this page for news about the Joseph Branch Railriders.