Recreational activities within the Vale District are plentiful. From the rugged Owyhee Canyon in the south to the top of Lookout Mountain near Baker City, there are opportunities for quiet reflection, arduous physical challenges, and family adventures, such as wild horse viewing in the Cold Springs Herd Management Area (pictured right).
Some of the activities you can enjoy in the Vale District include:
There are two fee camping areas within the Vale District: Chukar Park and Spring Recreation Site. Other developed camping locations include Antelope Reservoir (PDF), Birch Creek Historic Ranch, Cow Lakes, Rome Launch Site, Slocum Creek/Leslie Gulch, Three Forks, Twin Springs, Willow Creek Hot Springs, Hells Canyon Reservoir Recreation Area, Carter's Landing (PDF), Copper Creek Campsite (PDF), Bassar Diggins (PDF), and Swedes Landing (PDF).
All camping areas also offer day-use opportunities. The Spring Recreation Site is the only one which charges a day-use fee. Here are some suggestions for day use only destinations: Owyhee Below the Dam, Jordan Craters, Oregon National Historic Trail Roadside Interpretive Sites, Highway 95 Interpretive Site, Echo Meadows (PDF), Power City (PDF), and South Fork Walla Walla (PDF).
Virtue Flat (PDF) is a premier off-highway vehicle destination near Baker City.
Snake River/Mormon Basin Backcountry Byway.
The United States Congress designated the Hells Canyon Wilderness in 1975 and it now has a total of 217,927 acres. Idaho contains approximately 83,811 acres. It is primarily managed by the U.S. Forest Service with approximately 940 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Hells Canyon Wilderness is a subset of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (HCNRA), which straddles the border of northeastern Oregon and western Idaho. Split into two distinct halves by the Wild & Scenic Snake River, approximately one-third of HCNRA is designated Wilderness. A small portion of the Wilderness in Oregon is managed by the BLM.
The Idaho side of the Wilderness is smaller than the Oregon side and encompasses the Seven Devils mountain range. The Wilderness stretches south from Pittsburg Landing for approximately 31 miles along the Snake River.
On the Oregon side, the higher elevation areas are characteristic of rocky slopes and grasslands laced with 'stringer canyons' and groves composed of Douglas fir and ponderosa pine. The lower elevations are dominated by grassland benches with steep canyons and ravines dissecting the isolated Oregon-side. Two National trails are found at various elevations: Western Rim/Summit Ridge Recreation Trail at the upper elevation, and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail near the Snake River. Species of interest are Rocky Mountain Elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and chukar.