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Blue Mountain Scenic Highway, Heppner to National Forest Route 73

86.8 miles: 1 hours, 59 minutes

Following FR 53 southeast from Heppner, the Blue Mountain Scenic Highway follows Willow Creek up into Oregon's Umatilla National Forest. The byway exits the forest's Heppner District and descends to the town of Ukiah before continuing via FR 52 back into the national forest and the North Fork John Day Wilderness. Due to snow, portions are closed mid-November to late May.

flickr/Sam Beebe

From Heppner, Ore., the Blue Mountain Scenic Highway ascends through a landscape of brush and grassland until entering Umatilla National Forest, where the hills become steeper, and the pines taller and more numerous. The woods thin out again as the road descends to Ukiah, but then it returns to forested high country, an area still recovering from a devastating 1996 fire.


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