We travel through Hell’s Canyon in Oregon – the other “grand” canyon – and take in the stunning views as well as the wild flowers blooming.
As part of our family’s trip exploring the northeastern corner of Oregon, we planned to drive the scenic Hell’s Canyon Byway after our stay in Baker City. It is a winding forest service road through the mountains, but I’m sure glad we made the effort to see this part of our state that we didn’t even know existed (it does share the canyon with Idaho, since the Snake River is the state line, but we stayed on the Oregon side).
I didn’t know before we started researching our trip that Hell’s Canyon was the deepest river-carved gorge in the United States. I just assumed it was the Grand Canyon, since that’s what you hear about mostly. Granted, it’s not quite as dramatic, since it’s shorter and doesn’t have the vistas and plateaus, but on depth apparently, we’ve got it beat!
Hell’s Canyon from the Oregon Side
This canyon is a well-kept secret. There are no crowds to fight to see this, as it’s a little harder to reach than the Grand Canyon and obviously less well-known.
But it is grand, for sure, and is so large at this viewpoint that you can’t see the Snake River at the bottom. This view above is to the north, showing the Seven Devil’s Mountain Range in the background, which lends quite a majestic backdrop, don’t you think?
This view to the south shows a bit more how mind-bendingly big it is. It seems to go on and on. We enjoyed a picnic at the viewpoint, just soaking it all in for awhile.
While we where there, we hiked around a bit and I noticed all the wildflowers. Making this trip in June, we were blessed to be able to see lots of wildflowers blooming. I took a couple of pictures to share with you, (of course!):
This is a wild purple penstemon and they were all over the place. I probably should’ve gotten a photo showing what the hillside looked like covered in purple – so pretty.
I’m not exactly sure what this plant is, but the flower looks like a potentilla, so perhaps from that family? These were also blooming everywhere and looked so nice with the purples. Purple and yellow are some of my favorite flower combinations for borders.
Also blooming everywhere were wild lupines. I was surprised to see that this lupine is different from the wild lupine I’m used to on the western side of the state. The flowers here are not as close together on the flower spike and at first I thought it may be a type of wild salvia, but the leaves are unmistakably lupine.
Beautiful vistas and beautiful flowers – they both contributed to the “Swiss-Alps” feeling that this area is known for. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but we were blown away at what was hidden in this part of the state. We all wanted to come back again to spend more time!