Highlighted for it’s local artists:
Beautiful bronze sautes line the sidewalks, while colorful flowers bloom at their feet! Locals stand about chatting away about the towns going on’s, while tourists click away and marvel at the stunning views! Go ahead and indulge in some shopping while on Main Street! Local handmade items are plentiful here, ranging from pottery, soaps, jewelry to intricate dream catchers! Check out the Gallery for skillfully designed paintings and amazing works of art in bronze! If you visit in late spring to mid summer make sure to check out Joseph’s Farmers Market. Jams and Jelly, caramel corn, veggies, intricately designed jewelry and sweet smelling soaps swaps hands here and at good prices too! Looking for some local grass fed beef? Well look no further than Joseph family foods. One thing is for certain, it’s easy to shop locally in Joseph Oregon!Walk around on Main Street:
I take a lot of joy in looking though the aisles at the Copper Creek Mercantile! Large succulents waiting to be plated, paired with local beautifully glazed pots! Tiny and adorable fairy garden decorations beckon to me as I pass. Thumbing through the tee shirts keeps us laughing, while the unique assortment of toys captivates Lily! Don’t forget your Bigfoot photo op! 😉
Oh my gosh, you have to get a truffle and coffee form Arrowhead Chocolates! Rich high quality ingredients mixed with a sprinkling of love go into each and every chocolate! And it honestly shows! Treat yourself to a chocolate coffee, you won’t be sorry! I always enjoy their salted caramel milk chocolate coffee, paired with a lavender truffle. Simply put it’s the best! Enjoy your chocolate covered spoon while you wait!
If your in the market for a good quality fishing flies, Fred recommends checking out The Joseph Fly Shoppe! Great assortment and the owner is helpful and knowledgeable! Lily and I enjoying popping in at To Zion, which offers a wide assortment of jewelry, neat rocks and groovy clothing. We love the relaxed atmosphere and never fail to something neat to take home with us!
Enjoying Joseph in the Spring and Summer:
Late spring in Joseph offers melting snow, wide rivers and beautiful budding flowers. Sunny days began to thaw the sleepy town, as farmers start tending to the land while calving season is upon us. Thriving young wildlife emerge from their cozy shelters and start to scamper about. Enjoy quite nights filled with stars and crisp days with plenty to see! While the town welcomes you with warm coffee, hot food and fun places to visit.
Watch fire works over Wallowa Lake on the Fourth of July! Plan ahead to have a BBQ at the waters edge allowing you to claim your spot early. We suggest staying at the camp ground to avoid the traffic back to town! Spend the day mingling with locals while the kids swim and play.
The last weekend in July is Chief Joseph Days. Grab your boots and prepare for some good old fashioned country fun! Bring a seat and enjoy a bucking horse stampede down main street, a kiddie parade and a grand parade! Finally, head over to the rodeo grounds and watch some good ol’ cowboys show you how it’s done!Where to eat:
The Stubborn Mule, primarily a bar, does offer family seating, although the dinning area is small and fills fast. But for those of you that are the drinking age crowd, need not fear, there is ample seating available in the bar. The Stubborn Mule offers big flavor with large servings! Make sure to stop by on prime rib night, you won’t be sorry! The bacon burger is to die for as well!
Our family’s favorite spot is the La Laguna! Offering tasty Mexican cuisine at a good price, plus were sure you’ll leave with lunch too! The restaurant offers plenty of seating and a fun atmosphere. The owners are local to Joseph and are funny and super welcoming! Best part is, they are great with kids! We’d recommend any of their burritos and make sure to try the homemade Salas! Just be sure to save room for deep fried ice cream!
Embers Brew House is sure to please with it’s live music, local beers and delicious pizza! Order a BBQ chicken pizza and a local beer while you enjoy the show! Must see places while in town:
Check out the Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site, Pronounced ee-weh-TEMM-lye-kinn. “Iwetemlaykin” is the Nez Perce name for this area of the Wallowa Lake basin, meaning ‘at the edge of the lake’. This site is free to enjoy and is set amidst the stunning backdrop of the Wallowa Mountains! It’s sure to take your breath away! Enjoy a stroll to Knights Pond, where there’s a few fish to be had. But honestly it’s all about the views! A short stroll from the pond, setting off in the shade, is a short wooden bridge. A small creek trickles past, offering the kids a perfect place to play! While maintained trails make it easy for walking around, it’s truthfully the views that’ll call you back again and again!
A big part of what makes Wallowa County special is that it’s part of the ancestral homeland of the Nez Perce Tribe. Chief Joseph’s Memorial Site is just up the road from Iwetemlaykin and is worth the visit! There is no fee and pull out style street parking is available. What I love about this site is that I feel as though you can really sense the Nez Perce’s connection and love for their Chief and the surrounding land! The site also goes a long way to demonstrate Chief Joseph’s and the Nez Perce Tribes compassion for others.
Your tots will love playing at Joseph’s City Park! It’s newly remolded and awaiting your visit. Tucked back off of Main Street, you’ll want to turn onto W. 4th Street and follow the road down. It’s prefect for all ages and even your dogs will appreciate this park with it’s large grassy field!
Pack a late picnic dinner, grab a blanket and head to Wallowa Lake. Enjoy your dinner while watching the sun set! Encourage kids to skips rocks or look for fish off the dock as you spread out your blanket and wait to lay under the stars. It’s amazing how bright the stars are out here!
Enjoy an early morning drive through the Zumwalt Prairie while taking in the 33,000 acres of this high altitude prairie! You’ll want to keep your camera handy and be on the lookout for foxes, elk, cattle, deer, hawks and eagles! However whiling visiting you’ll need to leave your doggies behind as they are restricted within the Zumwalt Prairie. This is due to several low nesting birds and other wildlife that are extremely sensitive to disturbances. The Prairie is free to visit and has plenty to see!Grab your hiking shoes, swim suites, snack style lunch and gas up the car! A scenic trip through the Eagle Cap Wilderness awaits you! Where you’ll spend the day hiking at the Indian Crossing Trailhead. Drive down State Highway 350 from Joseph, OR. You’ll travel approximately 8 miles out of town. Where you’ll turn right onto Forest Road 39, Wallowa Mountain Loop Road. From there you’ll travel approximately 40 miles, along a windy, narrow road that’s packed full of wildlife! We stopped along the way a couple of times to look around, making it about an hour and half drive once on Road 39. After a while you’ll turn right onto Forest Road 3960. From here it’s about a 15 minute drive to the Indian Crossing Campground and Trailhead. Check out this site for more information, Blue hole info. From here hike the winding rugged trail, which straddles both sides of the Imnaha River! You’ll wander through an area where an old forest fire darkened the landscape. The kids enjoyed learning and seeing the effect a fire has on the forest. Leading to an awesome Smokey the Bear style conversation! Find a quite pretty spot by the Imnaha River to snack on your lunch while watching the river roll by. Follow along the trail to find Blue Hole. Crystal clear waters and a deep hole make for a fun place to swim! Word of caution, both times when we visited Blue Hole there were groups of people skinny dipping, may want to send a scout ahead first. 😉 Can you bear the freezing cold waters of the Imnaha River to take a dip?
Amazing ways to give back:
Embrace the opportunity to teach your children about the Nez Perce Tribe and Chief Joseph’s journey. Chief Joseph led his tribe during a turbulent period in contemporary history. The Tribe was forced to leave their ancestral lands in Wallowa Valley, by the United States government. Chief Joseph and some of his Tribe members held strong and refused to leave their ancestral land. Which eventually resulted in the 1877 Nez Perce War.
Our family enjoys making games out of picking up litter and cans. Such as who can collect the most money the fastest. Or maybe we’ll create an I Spy style scavenger hunt. For an added bonus, use trash collection as a way to teach kids about the effects of littering on our Eco- system!
All our best and safe travels my friends!
Jenny, Fred and Lily