Monday, July 27, 2009



As with all posts on this blog, this one will be a work in progress. And as always, you can click on the pictures to see them in larger format.

I'm not sure why I decided to do a post about Oregon Highway 207 from one end to the other, but it is probably because I love the towns along the route. I also love how isolated the route is, and how beautiful the countryside is at nearly all places along the way.

Route 207 meets US 730 north and east of Hermiston, along the Columbia River. Hat Rock State Park is nearby.

I was on US 730 heading west when I started this route. I turned left onto Oregon 207.
In a future post I will do a photo essay on the city of Hermiston, and I may also add pictures to the first part of this post. In the meantime, here is their city website: .

2.1 - Walls Road. Mostly open. pleasant countryside. Fair amounts of sagebrush!
3.5 - Punkin Center Road. At this point the scenery is still fairly rural.
4.0 - Houses are becoming more concentrated.
5.6 - Diagonal Road, goes left to City Center.

5.9 - Hermiston city limit, speed limit reduces to 40. The population of Hermiston is roughly 16,000 and its elevation is 450 feet above sea level.

7.0 - Junction OR 207 and US 395. US 395 is somewhat of a commercial strip, and there are places to shop and eat nearby. To stay on OR 207, go straight ahead at this intersection.

7.7 - Pool.

7.8 - Good Shepherd Hospital on the left.

8.0 - OR 207 makes a left turn at a Shell station and heads south.

8.6 - Hermiston Avenue heads left toward the City Center.

9.0 - Intersection with W. Highland Avenue.
10.0 - Now back in the countryside, speed limit back up to 55 miles per hour.
11.0 - Intersection with Feedville Road.
11.8 - Intersection with Hinkle Road.
12.1 - Road crosses Umatilla River.
12.5 - Comfort Inn, Space Age Truck Stop are on the right.
12.7 - Junction with Interstate 84. To continue on 207, just go straight ahead.

12.7 - Highway 207 heads south from Interstate 84.

17.1 - Oregon Trail marker.

18.1 - You can turn left here to go to Echo on the Lexington-Echo Highway.

Typical countryside between Hermiston and Lexington on Oregon 207.

19.5 - Windmills... it's hard to go anywhere in the Columbia basin without seeing them!

25.6 - Butter Creek Road takes off to the left. It is a paved connector road that heads ESE until it meets Vinson on OR Route 74.
28.5 - Alpine Lane.

Coming up ahead at mile 35.4, a connecting road to Boardman takes off to the right.
37.2 - Martin Road to right.
39.1 - Baseline Road.
42.9 - Lexington Grange Road.
44.2 - Start down hill into Lexington.

45.1 - Junction OR 74 and OR 207. The two highways share the same route for a ways. Turn left toward Heppner. This is a picture looking east along Lexington's main street. At the time of the 2000 census, Lexington has a population of 263. According to Wikipedia, Lexington has experienced a population loss of roughly 10% per decade since 1960. The elevation at Lexington is 1,454 feet.

45.7 - Leaving Lexington.
50.5 - Bunker Hill Lane.
52.4 - Old Kinzua complex.
53.2 - Dee Cox Road.
53.4 - Heppner city limit. Hepper's population is 1,415. It was incorporated in 1887, and it is 1,955 feet above sea level. It is the county seat of Morrow County, and was named for Henry Heppner, a Prussian immigrant who came to America in the 1850s and worked in Heppner and surrounding areas from the 1860s on.
As you enter Heppner, you will see this very nice little welcome park. The Morrow County Museum is to the right from here, a few blocks away. I didn't go inside the museum, but the murals painted on the outside are amazing. I will post pictures of those in my upcoming post about the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway, which also goes through Heppner.

54.4 - After crossing Hinton and Willow Creeks, head up Main Street. Heppner experienced catastrophic flooding in 1903, when severe flash flood conditions caused a wall of water 40 feet high to come down Willow Creek Canyon, destroying the town. Willow Creek has since been dammed.

54.9 - Junction. Hwy 74 goes to the left to Pilot Rock, while OR 207 goes straight ahead, up the hill.

Just a few blocks down Highway 74 is the Morrow County Courthouse. It is a magnificent building!
55.8 - To the left is the road to Willow Creek Reservoir, Cutsforth Park, and Ukiah.

59.2 - Looking back down the hill toward Heppner.

59.2 - A view to the southwest from the top of the hill.
63.0 - The road heads down a hill into a canyon.

65.5 - RUGGS. There is a large grain elevator here, and as I recall there are a couple of houses. At this mileage point, Rhea Creek Road leads to the left ("Ione 22"). To the right is Upper Rhea Creek Road.

65.7 - Junction at Rhea Creek. To continue on OR 207, go LEFT ("Hardman 9, Spray 44"). If you bear to the right you will follow OR 206, 33 miles to Condon. After making your left turn onto OR 207, the above picture is a view from the highway looking northeast. Ruggs is in a scenic canyon bottom area along Rhea Creek.

67.4 - Looking up the road out of Ruggs. The road begins to climb here.
68.6 - Porcupine Lane.
70.8 - Side road up side canyon.
74.0 - The road reaches the top of the hill.
74.1 - HARDMAN. looking south at OR 207 enters town. Hardman is considered a "ghost town". To learn more about it, this is a good link:

74.5 - Looking north up Hardman's main street, near the point at which the highway leaves town to head toward Spray.

75.0 - The road heads back down hill.
76.5 - After a sharp corner, you start seeing more trees.
77.2 - Deadman Hill Loop.

The highway follows a scenic canyon along Rock Creek.

80.1 - Looking south on OR 207.

80.3 - Anson Wright Memorial Park to the right. From the Heppner Chamber of Commerce Site: "A 25-mile drive south of Heppner on Highway 207 will bring you to Anson Wright Memorial Park. In 1970, Walter and Mildred Wright deeded the 18 park acres to Morrow County as a memorial to Anson Wright. The park has 5 wide pads with double hook-ups which will accommodate 10 trailers, 4 sites without hook-ups, but with water available, picnic areas, children's' playgrounds, restrooms with showers, both a pond and a creek for fishing, and trails for hiking."
Fishing pond at Anson Wright Park.

Some nice open space at the park.

84.6 - Typical scenery for this area, looking west from the highway.

84.6 - Typical scenery for this area, looking south along the highway.
85.2 - The other end of Deadman Hill Loop.
87.5 - Morrow County OHV park to the left.

87.5 - Near Morrow County OHV Park.

88.9 - Enter Umatilla National Forest land.
89.4 - Kinzua Road to right. This gravel road will lead you to the area of Wetmore.
90.5 - Enter Wheeler County.
91.6 - Road narrows.
92.7 - Summit, elevation 4,612 feet. From here, the road starts down a very long grade with numerous sharp curves.

94.8 - The road is narrow in this area as it heads down hill.
99.5 - Leave Umatilla National Forest.
99.6 - Kahler Basin Road to the right. The sign reads "Winlock 15". This interesting paved road will take you through some isolated, scenic country. Maybe I will do something about Winlock in a future road trip post!

100.0 - At this point, you are pretty much out of the forest.

102.8 - Looking south down the highway.

106.5 - Junction with OR Route 19. A left turn here will take you to Kimberly, and then on to the Sheep Rock unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. But to stay on OR Route 207, turn right at this intersection. Routes 19 and 207 share the same route for about the next 15-16 miles. The above picture looks left from the junction, southeast along Route 19.

This is looking west along Routes 207 and 19 toward Spray, which lies a couple of miles ahead around a bent to the right.

109.1 - Enter SPRAY, population about 140, elevation 1,772 feet. Spray is known by some as The City by the River, as it sits beside the John Day. Every Memorial Day weekend, Spray has a rodeo and a half marathon race. If you would like more information, here is Spray's town website:

109.2 - Riverfront Park to the left.
109.6 - Kahler Basin Road to the right.

The Spray Pioneer Museum.

The main street of Spray.

Local cafe and grocery store in downtown Spray.

110.2 - Just past the edge of the town of Spray, heading west. From here, the highway follows the John Day River through scenic canyon country.

110.3 - Looking west, just past the edge of Spray.

112.4 - Highway 207, heading west along the John Day River.

117.6 - More John Day River scenery heading west along highway 207.

119.3 - Muleshoe Mountain above Highway 207, heading west.

119.7 - Alder Creek Road to the right. This gravel road will take you up Alder Creek to the Winlock area.
119.9 - Muleshoe Recreation Area.

122.0 - Junction. Turn left to continue to Mitchell on OR 207. If you go straight ahead about a half mile on OR Route 19, there is a store and cafe at Service Creek.

Service Creek has a store and cafe with restroom.

From here, Highway 207 crosses the John Day River and heads up a side canyon, winding its way up a hillside.
124.8 - This is above the junction, looking northeast.

128.4 - Junction. RICHMOND, elevation 3,200 is about a mile to the left. It is a remnant of a town, and like Hardman, is considered a ghost town. A few people live here, but not very many. A number of the buildings are very old and are deserted. The road into Richmond is paved, but it is full of potholes... beware!

An old house in Richmond.

This looks like it might have been a church at one time.
For more Richmond information, you can check at
133.6 - This is looking northeast from the highway.
134.3 - Summit.
137.1 - Girds Creek Road to the right. It will take you to Twickenham and to the John Day River.

139.0 - Looking east from the highway, into the hills.

139.6 - At another summit, looking south.

142.7 - Wide open country along Highway 207, looking south.

145.5 - The road heads down the hill toward Mitchell.

145.9 - End OR Route 207 at junction with US Highway 26.

The route is about 146 miles long. It takes you through agricultural lands, forests, mountains, canyon country, and some fantastic wide open spaces. In order to take in sights such as the Morrow County Museum in Heppner, to spend time looking around in Hardman and Richmond, and to simply relax and enjoy the scenery I recommend taking 6-8 hours minimum.
As time goes by, I will add community links and other links to informational websites about this area in the "Links" section.