Monday, June 16, 2008

ROAD TRIP 2: LA GRANDE to ECHO on OLD U.S. HIGHWAY 30

The route of U.S. Highway 30 has largely been replaced by Interstate 84 in Oregon. However, there are still sections of Old Highway 30 you can drive on. These sections are generally narrow and winding, and they lead to scenic views, old towns and plenty of history.

This road trip covers the roughly 82 miles from La Grande to Interstate 84 near the small town of Echo, with all available remaining sections of Old U.S. 30. Sections of Highway 30 are noted in red.

0.0 Starting at Island and Adams

Looking west from just past Island and Adams, into downtown La Grande.

1.1 Head west up the hill on old Highway 30 and leave La Grande.

1.3 Gangloff Park and viewpoint.

Historical marker at Gangloff Park.

View north toward Mt. Emily from Gangloff Park.

View south from Gangloff Park, toward La Grande and Glass Hill.

View east over La Grande and into Grande Ronde Valley, with pioneer cabin in foreground.

1.9 Entering canyon of Grande Ronde River on Interstate 84.


3.9 Exit for Perry. To follow Old US 30, go straight ahead at the stop sign.

Looking north under the railroad tracks into the small community of Perry.

4.2 View of Grande Ronde River looking west.

4.9 Upper Perry.

5.1 As of 6/15/08 there was construction on an old bridge near where Highway 30 re-enters I-84.

5.6 Looking west on I-84 between Perry and Hilgard.

7.7 Looking west on I-84 near Hilgard exit.

8.2 Exit for Hilgard, Hilgard State Park, and Oregon 244 to Ukiah.

11.8 Looking west on I-84 near Spring Creek Road exit. The elevation here is about 3,500 feet.


12.4 Exit for Spring Creek Road and Kamela. Take this exit to continue on the next section of Old US 30.

12.6 Turn right at the stop sign, follow sign indicating Kamela.

13.0 The railroad tracks are below you as you cross on an old concrete bridge.

13.3 Junction to Blue Mountain Crossing, an Oregon Trail interpretive site 2.5 miles to the north on a paved road. Excellent exhibit, beautiful spot. I will feature this site in a future entry.

17.8 Looking south at an area of clear cut logging. Because of the dry climate in eastern Oregon, it takes forests much longer to regenerate from clear cuts than it does in the wetter western part of the state. Some timber harvesting outfits do a good job replanting, anyway.

19.8 The sign indicates that this is Kamela. It is mostly a few cabins/houses and a railroad siding.

20.4 Leave Union County, enter Umatilla County.

21.6 Poor forest management leads to forests crowded with small trees and undergrowth, leaving the forest susceptible to fire. Also, as the hardier tree species are harvested, without good management they can become replaced by trees more susceptible to disease and infestation. This is a picture of forest that is in serious need of thinning and selective cutting. I wasn't able to get a decent picture looking across the road the other way, but some good forest practice is going on there.

21.7 Looking west from the summit of the Blue Mountains along Old US 30.

If you want to continue on Old US 30 once you get back to I-84, it can get a bit confusing. I hope this helps:

24.1 Junction - go left - sign indicates Meacham, Pendleton.

24.2 Go right - sign indicates Pendleton. You'll go under I-84.

24.3 Go left - signs indicate Meacham, Pendleton.

24.4 Go right, where sign indicates Meacham.

25.1 Enter Meacham.

25.3 Looking down the "main street".

25.5 Historical marker.

"Downtown" Meacham.

25.9 Leave Meacham. Highway 30 parallels I-84 for a while, although the freeway isn't immediately visible.

28.3 Cross over I-84 on bridge.

28.7 Emigrant Springs State Park.

29.4 Cross back to north side of I-84 again on bridge.

29.6 Turn right where sign indicates "Scenic View".

31.1 Enter Umatilla Indian Reservation.

31.5 If you want to go 0.1 mile up a gravel road to a great viewpoint, turn right where the sign says "Scenic View". The viewpoint was formerly known as Squaw Creek. Many sites with this place name are getting new names. I don't know if the canyon you will see from the viewpoint has been renamed, but whether it has or not, this is a nice view.

Looking east.

Looking north.

31.9 Some eastern Oregon sunshine, also known as balsam root.

34.7 Deadman Pass. Turn right for the rest area. There is access to I-84 at this point.

To continue on US 30, go straight ahead at the stop sign.

36.3 The view south, across the Blue Mountains. In this area, the road winds its way along the side of the ridge, near the ridgetop. There are lots of nice views.

39.4 Access to I-84 at this point. Keep to the right to continue on US 30.

39.6 The road heads down Cabbage Hill.

40.3 Looking south at the westbound lanes of I-84.

40.7 Old Highway 30 snakes its way down the hill toward Pendleton.

43.3 Looking west from Cabbage Hill.

46.0 At this point, the highway is mostly off of the hill and is now heading toward the Umatilla River bottomlands.

48.3 Junction - Bear to the left here. Cayuse Road heads right, to the east from here, following the Umatilla River.

Head through the Umatilla Nation headquarters area.

49.9 Four-way stop - go straight ahead here toward Pendleton. You will be on Mission Road.

If you go left at this stop, you will head south up the hill toward Wildhorse Casino/Hotel/Golf Course and I-84.

If you go right at this stop, you will be heading toward Adams, Athena, Helix, Milton-Freewater, and eventually to Walla Walla, WA.

52.5 At the stoplight, go straight ahead. Memory Lane is to the left, the Mission Frontage Road is to the right.

53.6 Historical marker. There is an osprey nesting platform close to the edge of the hill, and during May and June there are often birds on the nest.

53.7 Junction - go straight ahead. A right turn will take you on OR 11 to Walla Walla.

54.0 Hal's Hamburgers is a good lunch stop. It has been in the same location for as long as I can remember.

54.3 St. Anthony's Hospital.

54.7 To go to Pendleton Woolen Mills, turn right at the stoplight onto Court Place.

55.3 The intersection of Court Avenue and Main Street, the heart of downtown Pendleton.

Hamley's Western Clothing store.

Looking south down Main Street.

Looking north up Main Street.

The Curio Shop has always been one of my favorite places.

55.9 You will be passing Round-Up Stadium, home to the famous Pendleton Round-Up rodeo and the Happy Canyon traditional Native American activities held at Round-Up time.

56.4 Head up a bridge to a stoplight, go straight ahead.

56.6 Junction - go straight ahead. A right turn will take you up the hill on OR 37, which eventually leads to the Columbia River between Hermiston and Wallula.

57.4 Historical marker at west edge of Pendleton.

58.0 Airport Road.

58.1 Bear to the right as US 30 crosses from the north to the south side of I-84.

58.3 Go straight, sign will indicate Rieth.

59.6 Mill at Rieth.

59.7 Enter Rieth. This is the "downtown".

60.3 Leave Rieth.

60.7 View west along Old Highway 30, which follows the Umatilla River.

63.9 Barnhart Road is a gravel route that leads up a side canyon and eventually to I-84.

65.2 Another view west along the old highway.

65.8 Another view west.

66.2 The remains of an old house have become the target of creative graffiti artists.

69.2 Yoakum Road takes off to the right. This is another gravel route leading up a side canyon and eventually to I-84.

69.3 A view west along the Umatilla River.

70.8 There is large colony of cliff swallows at this point.

73.1 Nolin Grade Road leads off to the right.

80.0 At this stop sign, you are at Echo. The high school (home of the Cougars!) is to your right.

80.1 At this intersection you can turn left to go into downtown Echo.

80.6 Head up the hill and out of Echo.

81.6 Access to eastbound I-84 to Pendleton.

81.7 Access to westbound I-84 for Boardman, and eventually Portland.

If you go straight ahead you will soon be in Stanfield, then in Hermiston, and after that at the Columbia River.

2 comments:

Tom Harper said...

Great pictures. Thanks.

I didn't know Oregon had a Ukiah. I thought California had the only one.

A Midnight Rider said...

I found you on a Maine friends blog and came by for a visit. The area in this post look like a great place to ride a bike. I just may do that.

I'll be looking around because this looks like a great little travelog. Nice stuff.