Baker City Travel Guide
Located in a scenic valley between the Wallowa Mountains and the Elkhorn Range in northeastern Oregon, Baker City was once considered the center of social activity on the Oregon Trail. Although today the population is only around 16,000, Baker City at one time was the largest populated center in the state. During the gold rush, the city was the support and supply center for outlying mining towns. Today, tourists descend on Baker City to take advantage of the area’s year-round recreational opportunities.
Much of the city’s 19th century buildings and charm have been maintained over the years, providing the backdrop for Baker City’s festivals which celebrate its early western heritage. In July, a Miners’ Jubilee is held, which commemorates the city’s mining past while in September, the Fall Festival celebrates its agricultural heritage, with cook-offs and other harvest-related events.
Baker City offers up abundant recreational opportunities for visitors that range from camping, fishing and hiking in the summer to skiing in the winter. The mountain views here are stunning and the air is fresh and clean, adding to the appeal. Hells Canyon Byway comes into the Baker Valley as it descends Flagstaff Hill, where the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is found.
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area: located at the northern Oregon-Idaho border, this nature preserve comprises over 600,000 acres of pristine wilderness. Among its many compelling features are the continent’s deepest river chasm and three of the most wild and scenic rivers in North America.
Oregon Trail Interpretive Center: offers visitors a combination of demonstrations, exhibits, and multimedia presentations on the history of the Oregon Trail as well as walks on over four miles of these trails.
The Oregon Trail Regional Museum: features exhibits on the natural and social history of the area through its collections of artifacts, carriages, gems, and rocks. The museum building, dating from 1920, is included on the US National Register of Historic Places.
The Sumpter Valley Railroad: operated from the 1890s to the late 1940s, when the tracks were pulled up. In 1947, the narrow gauge track was laid once again and the cars have since been restored.