Dug Bar, Snake River, Wallowa County, OR

September 3, 2007: Dug Bar, Hell’s Canyon, Snake River, Wallowa County, OR: We left our campsite near Summit Road early in the morning and proceeded to Elgin, Enterprise, Joseph, and Imnaha. The road to Dug Bar heads north from Imnaha.

Immediately a sign warns that six miles ahead the road becomes unsuitable for trailers and larger vehicles. Another warning coincides with the end of pavement as well. At that point the road sign states that the road ahead is not recommended for passenger vehicles.

The scenery is spectacular so take the opportunity to stop wherever you can. It took us four hours to reach Dug Bar, in part because of road conditions and in part because of many stops to admire the scenery. The road is not for the faint hearted. In many places the edge drops several thousand feet nearly straight down and there is no room to pass another vehicle. I drive a Dodge 4WD pickup with a low range (very slow) gear option. That means I have lots of power for hill climbing and I can approach rough, rocky road very slowly. Twists and turns in the road are sharp enough that the turn radius of the truck could barely make the corners in one effort.

We decided to camp at Dug Bar rather than return to Imnaha facing into the setting sun. It was a great decision. It was warm enough in the canyon that any exertion caused the sweat to pour. We had the campground entirely to ourselves and other than a passing jet boat we saw no one else.

The campgrounds were trashy… the outhouses needed cleaning… spent shotgun shells littered the ground… clearly the place needs some attention. Still, we enjoyed the overnight stay and our experience was enhanced by seeing both a sunset and a sunrise at such a beautiful location.


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