For motorcycle enthusiasts, there’s no better place to rev your engine and hit the open road than Eastern Oregon. Here you’ll find sun-filled days, inviting communities, unique places, and some of Oregon’s most beautiful, scenic roadways too. Here are some of our favorite road trips along Eastern Oregon’s Scenic Byways:
High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway
The High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway offers a glimpse of Eastern Oregon’s true frontier country. The route begins in Burns and winds its way through landscape dominated by juniper, sagebrush, dramatic mountain ranges, and herds of grazing cattle and sheep before reaching the tiny community of Fields.
Spend an afternoon with a pair of binoculars and thousands of migrating birds at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge or gaze across the desert landscape from your own private soaking pool at Crystal Crane Hot Springs. Pose for pictures in front of the unique Peter French Round Barn or pull over for fuel and a milkshake at Fields Station, where they keep a tally of how many milkshakes they’ve sold so far this year.
Blue Mountain Scenic Byway
The Blue Mountain Scenic Byway is for those who crave the combination of an open road and Eastern Oregon’s untamed wilderness. It begins near Granite, a historic mining community, and twists its way through the pristine Umatilla National Forest.
You won’t find many people along the way, but be on the lookout for elk. The Byway passes through the territory of one of the largest herds of Rocky Mountain Elk on the planet.
The northern half of the route weaves through golden wheat and canola fields, cattle and sheep ranches, and the biker-friendly towns of Ukiah, Heppner and Ione. Stop for ice cream at Rhodes Supply in Ukiah or cool off at Willow Creek Dam. And be sure to save some time to savor the sweeping views of the mighty Columbia River.
Journey Through Time Scenic Byway
The Journey Through Time Scenic Byway showcases Eastern Oregon’s stunning natural beauty and unique history. The tour zigzags its way past the color-washed Painted Hills, historic ghost towns, award-winning museums, friendly communities and the John Day River, one of the longest free-flowing rivers in America.
You can watch scientists unearth their latest finds at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center or marvel at the majestic Strawberry Mountains. Trade in your bike for a horse at Wilson Ranches Retreat or spend an evening with a sunset and a cold brew in charming Baker City.
There are adventures around every heart-pounding curve. For a few suggestions, check out this Journey Through Time Tour.
Hells Canyon Scenic Byway
The Hells Canyon Scenic Byway gives you a taste of the region’s diverse landscape. Between the twists and turns, you’ll see lush valleys, snow-capped mountains, rugged basalt cliffs, and the deepest canyon in America.
Friendly communities like Joseph, Halfway, and La Grande greet motorcyclists with their own special brand of Eastern Oregon hospitality. Allow plenty of time to explore them; you’ll find award-winning breweries, fine art galleries, excellent restaurants, and unique adventures.
Ride a gondola to the summit of Mount Howard and take in the spectacular beauty of the Wallowas, one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders. Or walk along the Oregon Trail and learn about the lives of early pioneers at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.
Elizabeth Farrar is a freelance writer and travel enthusiast living in the heart of Eastern Oregon. She enjoys photography, yoga, reading, drinking Oregon Pinot, and cheering on her beloved Oregon Ducks. To read more of Liz’s work, please visit: www.elizabethfarrar.com.
For a glimpse of some of Eastern Oregon’s Scenic Byways, check out these great videos by our travel partners:
May 27-30, 2016
39th Annual Fossil Campout
Chief Joseph Rally
June 23-25, 2016
Moto Guzzi Rally
July 7-11, 2016
Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally
July 20-24, 2016
Pendleton Bike Week