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Anybody have some good advice for backpacking trips in eastern Oregon? I assume it stays reasonably dry out there this time of year, so thought it might be a good time for exploring!
You might also check out central and eastern washington. The scablands are really cool, but hard to put on some good miles. The Yakima skyline trail or Juniper Dunes Wilderness are backpackable.
The Owyhee area should be pretty dry (but cold) this time of year...although it still probably is a wetter time of year...look up some weather data for Rome or Ontario for a good idea, but it is a true desert in that corner of the state. just one note...the roads leading to the Owyhee area are dirt, which becomes a very clumpy mess when it rains. The first time we headed out that way, enough mud built up on our tires so that the wheel wells were totally filled with mud as we were driving, which in turn unbalanced our tires, and made for a very slow, and rough ride back to the nearest town where it took several washings to get the car back in shape. We have a subaru outback, so this probably isn't an issue for larger vehicles.
Thanks for the suggestions. I have that book, so I'll take a peek at the honeycombs loop you mentioned, as well as the other suggestions. Are these areas pretty dry this time of year? We're hoping to escape the rain!
I believe the Wenaha river is usually snow free year round. The river is around 2000 feet. The snow level is higher than it has been in past years for January. It wouldn't suprise me if one could go as high as 4000 feet with out hitting snow in the wenaha-tucannon.
You might also want to look into the Owyhee area. There is a trip described in Douglas Lorain's 'Backpacking Oregon' book titled the 'Honeycombs Loop' which is pretty spectacular. It's only listed as 17 miles, but it's all off trail, and there is lots of area to explore, so it could easily be a three day trip. If you click on my name above and view my profile, I have photos from my adventures in the Owyhee...go to my album titled 'Painted Canyon'. I agree, the Wenaha is a good option (is that snowfree?)
Not many trails have enough mileage to make for good backpack trips most options will be in the hells canyon area. You should be able to get into Dug bar and the Imnaha river trail or the Hells Canyon reservoir area. The Wenaha river would be a good option.