The eastern half of the state of Oregon is filled with tall mountains, deep canyons and endless skies. Farming communities and small towns are sprinkled throughout the area and the history of the region dates back thousands of years. Eastern Oregon is where an endless array of outdoor activities pair with cultural adventures to provide a rich blend of discovery and excitement.
Just south of Ontario, along the Oregon-Idaho border, pioneers risked losing their wagons, possessions and possibly lives while they crossed the Snake River. By the time they reached this point, the wagons had been on the trail for several months. Now the area is filled with farming and ranching communities.
Baker City, Oregon
In Baker City you can experience history at every turn. Explore replicas of covered wagons, discover more than 100 nationally registered buildings in the historic downtown and visit the actual Oregon Trail to see deep wagon ruts. The city is full of the charm and hospitality of Eastern Oregon.
Influencer Lisa Nightengale explored Baker City and met with three Modern Pioneers Jenny Mowe of Sweet Wife Baking, Tyler Brown of Barley Brown Taphouse/Brewpub and Chelsea Mitchell of Mad Habit Boutique. Read about her whole trip here.
The history of the West is entrenched in Pendleton. The Oregon Trail ran through the town where SE Court Ave is today. The Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes have called the area home for thousands of years and a number of the local businesses have been around for more than 100 years. This Eastern Oregon town embraces that history, and many say that the west is still wild in Pendleton.
Influencer Alison Fresiz-Steward explored Pendleton and met Modern Pioneers Linda Bevington of L.L. Bevington and Perk Perkins of Pendleton Hat Company. Her trip also included the Pendleton Underground Tour, visiting stores downtown and sampling the local restaurants. Read about her whole trip here.
Situated in a tree-lined valley along the Umatilla River, the Oregon Trail passes directly through Echo. Pioneers would often stop here for a few days to rest before starting across the desert. The town is a popular stop for history enthusiasts with a covered wagon display, historic buildings and interpretive panels. This small Oregon Trail town is also home to two incredible wineries.
Wells Spring, located south of Boardman, was once a prominent resting area for pioneers. Now the Boardman area is an important part of the agricultural story for Oregon with cattle, potato, onion, mint, hay and grain farms. The SAGE Center highlights the history of the area’s sustainable agriculture and energy.