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Blue mountains trail towns

The Blue Mountains Trail passes through a number of Northeastern Oregon communities highlighting the region's history, diversity, and beauty. These communities are an essential part of the trail; they provide the opportunity to rest, resupply, and learn about the region.

 

The Blue Mountains Trail has the potential to provide a positive economic impact to its trail communities. We encourage hikers to visit and learn about the communities.

The following is a resource to assist hikers in planning their Blue Mountains Trail hike. It provides an overview of the services available in each community.  

 

The Town Guide is an evolving document. Available services and businesses change over time. We encourage locals and visitors to send us updates about businesses and services available. And if you find a business or service that may be of interest to hikers but isn’t listed here, please let us know by sending your updates to ghcc@hellscanyon.org.

 

An important note about business hours: this town guide was written in 2021 when many businesses have altered their hours due to the pandemic. Businesses continue to change their hours as the vaccine rolls out, so please be aware this guide may not be up-to-date.

full-service and limited-service towns

The Town Guide defines towns as full or limited service. Full-service towns are communities where most hikers should be able to resupply. There is a grocery store with a large enough selection to meet most needs, isobutane fuel canisters are available, and there are restaurants, lodging, and other services helpful for hikers. Limited-service towns are communities that lack a broad selection of grocery items and other hiking supplies. These are towns where we recommend hikers send a resupply box.

 

The following table summarizes the full- and limited-service communities along the Blue Mountains Trail:

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There are no resupply opportunities between Joseph and Troy (182 miles). This is farther than most hikers can travel between resupplies. If you have trail support, there are several locations along this long stretch where you could be resupplied.

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Resupply/Bounce Boxes

Long-distance Blue Mountains Trail hikers will need to send a resupply box to communities with limited services. Resupply and bounce boxes can be mailed via general delivery to a post office or sent to a business that is willing to accept hiker resupply packages. Below are instructions on how to address resupply boxes, mail general delivery to a post office, and information on mailing isobutane fuel canisters.

Note: Always call in advance to confirm that a business or post office will accept a resupply box. Confirm the address and length of time they will hold the package.

  • Always write “Please hold for hiker” and your ETA in large print on the outside of the box. We also recommend that you write your last name in large letters on the sides of the box for easy identification.

  • Businesses may charge a handling fee for receiving packages.

  • Photo ID will be required to pick up packages at Post Offices and may be required for businesses.

  • Do not mail packages too far in advance. Two weeks in advance is a good rule of thumb. Post Offices will not hold packages for more than 30 days (and some less than that).

  • Packages mailed to Post Offices should be sent “General Delivery.” Do not use the street address. General delivery packages should be addressed as follows:

Your name

℅ General Delivery

City, State Zip Code

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USPS Priority Mail boxes are a good option for resupply boxes. Boxes can be tracked and are usually delivered within 3 days. If the package is unopened, it can usually be forwarded to another location with no additional postage due. However, liquids, lithium batteries, fuel, and other items are prohibited from being sent by Priority Mail. Please consult the USPS Priority Mail prohibitions and restrictions.

Mailing fuel canisters

Isobutane fuel canisters and other hazardous materials cannot be mailed through USPS Priority Mail. It may be possible to mail via USPS ground mail. Please consult the latest USPS regulations for the requirements.

trail town etiquette

Consider yourself an ambassador for the Blue Mountains Trail and future hikers when visiting a town. Your actions will impact how future hikers are viewed. Please be respectful and courteous. Below are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Clean up. Hiking is a dirty business. You and your gear likely smell. Be respectful when visiting stores and restaurants. 

  • Charging electronic devices. Always ask permission before charging your devices at businesses such as restaurants and stores.

  • WiFi. Always ask before using WiFi.

  • Packing or drying gear. Try to avoid creating a “yard sale” when packing or drying your gear in town. Do not block business entrances or spread out over private property.

  • Motels. Do not overcrowd motel rooms. Pay for extra people sleeping in your room. Ask for dark-colored towels to avoid staining motel linens when bathing. Avoid excess garbage and mess (consider throwing out extra trash in the motel’s dumpster). Tip motel cleaning staff.

  • Restaurants. Be courteous to the staff, and tip your servers generously.

  • Trail Angels. Always ask if Trail Angels accept donations or require a fee for their services. Do not assume that they are providing their services for free.

  • Trash. Please be respectful about how to dispose of your trash when in town.

covid-19 precautions

At the time of the writing of this guide, COVID-19 vaccinations have begun in the U.S. but have not yet reached the entire population. The CDC regularly updates their recommendations for fully-vaccinated individuals. The situation evolves daily and different counties have different determinations and precautions. We suggest following the precautions from Travel Oregon, and if you are feeling ill, take additional precautions to avoid others and keep your face covered:

 

  • Maintain a minimum 6-feet physical distance from others and wear face coverings.

  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.

  • Prevent crowding by not congregating in parking lots, trailheads, or boat ramps.

  • Be mindful and avoid risky behavior.

  • Avoid groups more than 10 people.

  • Pack everything you need so you don’t make any unnecessary stops. 

  • Check the park’s status before you go, understanding closures can happen without notice and restrooms may not be open.

resupply towns

The following are towns and communities along or adjacent to the Blue Mountains Trail. Follow the link to the page for each town where we've listed the business and services you'll find there that are helpful for hikers. While reviewing and using these town guides, please be aware of the following:

 

  • The town guides were written during the COVID-19 pandemic. Business hours are likely to change in the future as the pandemic abates.

  • Confirm that a business or post office will accept a resupply package prior to mailing it.

  • The town guides do not list every hiker-related business, especially in larger communities. Instead, it attempts to list a representative sample of businesses available. If a business is listing that you think should be included here, please let us know, along with other business changes, so we can keep these guides up to date.

  • Send updates to ghcc@hellscanyon.org.

Joseph (mile 0)

Joseph is a small mountain town nestled at the northern end of Wallowa Lake. It is a full-service town with a small grocery, laundromat, restaurants, and lodging. It is compact and all hiker services are easily walkable. It also has a vibrant arts community.

Joseph is a popular tourist destination. Accommodations can be scarce and expensive during the summer months, through Labor Day. Enterprise, which is 6 miles down Highway 82, is also a full-service town and another option to consider visiting.

Elevation: 4,150 feet

Population: 1,054

Getting there from the trail: The Wallowa Lake Trailhead, the northern terminus of the Blue Mountains Trail, is approximately 7 miles from Joseph via OR-351.

enterprise (mile 0)

Enterprise is a full-service town about 6 miles from Joseph. Transit is available in the summer from Enterprise to the Wallowa Lake Trailhead.

Elevation: 3,750 feet

Population: 1,950

Getting there from the trail: The Wallowa Lake Trailhead, the northern terminus of the Blue Mountains Trail, is approximately 13 miles from Enterprise via OR-351.

troy (mile 182)

Troy is a very small unincorporated community located at the confluence of the Grande Rhode and Wenaha Rivers. Troy has few services with limited hours. We recommend that thru-hikers mail resupply boxes to the Troy Lodge.

Elevation: 1,620 feet

Population: 25

Getting there from the trail: The trail goes right through town.

tollgate (mile 232)

Tollgate is a very small unincorporated community on Oregon Highway 204. Services are limited in Tollgate.

Elevation: 5,045 feet

Population: Varies seasonally

Getting there from the trail: Services are 1.2 miles west on Highway 204.

La Grande (Mile 284)

La Grande marks what we consider the midway point of the Blue Mountains Trail. It is a full-service city with an excellent outfitter, numerous restaurants and lodging options, and nearly any other service for hikers. La Grande is a great place for long-distance hikers to take a “zero” (day off).

We are headquartered in La Grande. Please let us know if you'd like to come in to say hi when you are in town. We'd love to hear about your hike.

Elevation: 2,785 feet

Population: 13,610

Getting there from the trail: The trail passes through the center of La Grande.

Anthony Lakes (Mile 324)

Anthony Lakes is a ski and outdoor recreation area approximately 22 miles from Baker City with a resort and several campgrounds. Services are limited. There is no market to purchase resupply goods. The Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort may be able to accept a resupply box, with prior arrangement.

Elevation: 7,100 feet

Population: Seasonally occupied by campground hosts and resort staff

Getting there from the trail: The trail goes right through the area.

Baker City (Mile 324)

Baker City is a full-service city that is not on the trail but can serve as a starting/ending point for section hikes on the Elkhorn Crest. It can also be reached via transit or the Elkhorn Taxi from Sumpter.

Elevation: 3,450 feet

Population: 9,800

Getting there from the trail: Baker City is 29 miles from Sumpter, 27 miles from Anthony Lakes, and 45 miles from La Grande.

Sumpter (Mile 359)

Sumpter became a mining boomtown in the late 1890s. Its population peaked at over 2,000 in the early 1900s. Today, Sumpter’s population is under 200 and the economy relies heavily on tourism.

Sumpter has restaurants, lodging, and two small markets, but is a limited-service town. We recommend that thru-hikers consider mailing a resupply box to the post office because the markets do not provide enough food options for a full resupply.

Elevation: 4,429 feet

Population: 181

Getting there from the trail: The trail goes right through town.

Austin Junction (Mile 431)

Austin Junction is an unincorporated community in the Malheur National Forest. The Austin House, which is a combination market, gas station, restaurant, ice cream parlor, and tavern is the only business. The Austin House will accept hiker resupply boxes; however, please call to coordinate and confirm.

Bates State Park and Campground is a mile away and can be reached by a connected forest service road.

Elevation: 4,236 feet

Population: Approximately 35 within a 5-mile radius

Getting there from the trail: The trail goes right through Austin Junction.

John Day (Mile 530)

Downtown John Day is the southern terminus of the Blue Mountains Trail. The town is just north of the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, at the intersection of Highways 26 and 395.

 

John Day is a full-service town with a wide variety of restaurants and lodging options. 

Elevation: 3,087 feet

Population: 2,250

Getting there from the trail: The southern terminus of the Blue Mountains Trail is the 1188 Brewery located at 141 E Main St, John Day, OR, in the center of town.

Photographs used for this page are all from Creative Commons unless otherwise noted. "Joseph, Oregon" by Sam Beebe is licensed with CC BY 2.0. "Enterprise Oregon (4)" by rustejunk is licensed under CC BY 2.0. "Grande Ronde Wild and Scenic River" by BLM Oregon & Washington is licensed with CC BY 2.0. "Jubilee Lake and Reeds-Umatilla" by Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region is marked under CC PDM 1.0. "File:Granada Theater (La Grande, Oregon).jpg" by Visitor7 is licensed with CC BY-SA 3.0. "Flyfishing at Anthony Lakes, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest" by Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region is marked under CC PDM 1.0. "Baker City, Oregon" by Dougtone is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. "Sumpter Oregon (10)" by rustejunk is licensed with CC BY 2.0. Austin Junction photograph by Renee Patrick. "File:John Day Oregon.JPG" by Trashbag is licensed with CC BY-SA 3.0.

To view a copy of these licenses, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.