DescriptionThe Baker Valley gave the Oregon Trail pioneers their first glimpse of the promise of the Oregon Territory. The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center at Flagstaff Hill was built to preserve and interpret the Oregon Trail heritage.
In 1861 gold was discovered in Baker County by miners searching for the mythical Blue Bucket Mine. Subsequently, several mining towns sprang up throughout the county, many of which are now ghost towns. The Armstrong gold nugget, weighing 80.4 ounces, was found here.
Many of Baker City's historic buildings are reminiscent of the ornate architecture of the early gold rush days. Baker City Historic District has more than 100 commercial and residential buildings spread over 40 acres. Among them are the 1889 Geiser Grand Hotel.
In the heart of the ghost town area is Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area, the centerpiece of which is a 1,250-ton gold dredge built in 1935 and operated until 1954. More than $4.5 million in gold was extracted from the valley by the dredge. Self-guiding and interpretive tours of the dredge are available May through October; the trail surrounding it is open year-round; phone (541) 894-2486 or (800) 551-6949. Train rides are available in summer.
The mountains that were once the miner's El Dorado are now an easily accessible recreational retreat. The Blue Mountains to the west and the Wallowa Mountains to the east are within the boundary of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Another nearby highlight is Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, which lies east via SR 86.
A scenic stretch of I-84 begins just south of Baker City, running 93 miles northwest to Pendleton.
Visitor InfoVisit Baker Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau 490 Campbell St. BAKER CITY, OR 97814. Phone:(541)523-5855 or (888)523-5855
Self-guiding toursMaps and brochures for self-guiding walking and driving tours are available at the visitors bureau. Tours include the Baker City Historic District, gold-mining towns, the Hells Canyon National Scenic Byway and the Elkhorn Scenic Byway. Literature for self-guiding tours of nearby ghost towns can be obtained as well.
Things to SeeAdler House Museum