Day 3: Wallowa Lake to Elgin
MILES: 60.6 (65 W/ GRAVEL OPTION) | ELEVATION: 1,859’ (2,603’ W/ GRAVEL OPTION)
When you roll out of your sleeping bag, rub the sleep out of your eyes and set your gaze upon the serene, majestic lake just steps from your tent flap, you may feel the urge to hang around camp a little while longer today. That’s totally understandable, but there’s plenty more to see and do today so don’t linger too long.
As you pedal away from camp today on Highway 82, you’ll get to see Wallowa Lake from the opposite angle from yesterday as you head back towards Joseph. Along this stretch, notice the glacial moraines on the East and West sides of the lake. These moraines are the resulting piles of earth pushed aside and piled up that were created thousands of years ago when glaciers passed through this area. These particular moraines are being protected from development in part with help from $75,000 in grants from the Cycle Oregon Fund. Without these moraines, Wallowa Lake would never have formed and the view you’ll be enjoying would have been a whole lot different.
As you pass through Enterprise and a few other small towns, you’ll notice the landscape subtly changing from mountains to pastures. Enjoy the flat, uncrowded roads and please feel free to moo at the cows. When you come to the small community of Lostine, you will see a small shack with an airplane sticking out of the roof. This is The Blue Banana and they blend up a mighty fine smoothie if you’re in need of a little pick-me-up.
The scenery changes once again as we enter the Wallowa River Canyon where we stop for a riverside lunch at the historic Minam Motel.
After lunch, you may want to give yourself a little pep talk because we soon will be tackling one of the tougher climbs of the week. These 6 miles seem to go on and on, but the higher you climb, the more amazing the view gets. Once we reach the top, all that’s left is to cruise the rollers stair-stepping downhill towards the town of Elgin and a sound night’s sleep.
*Gravel Option: Depart the main route in Enterprise for 15 miles of amazing views of the Wallowas and the surrounding countryside.