What to do in Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area

Perched near the summit of the Blue Mountains, Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area offers visitors an opportunity to camp and explore a popular pioneer stopover along the Oregon Trail. The park is nestled in an old-growth forest, lush with flora and fauna and teaming with native wildlife. As during the Oregon Trail migration, the park provides weary travelers a welcome respite from the summer heat of the lowlands.

Camp in the campground, or bring your horse and camp in the reservable horse camp (be aware there are limited horse trails actually in the park; most of the trail riding is on adjacent property). The horse camp is closed in winter.

Picnic among towering trees or bring your group for overnight or daytime activities in the community building. For those that are not fully equipped for traditional camping, rent one of the seven cabins for a warm, dry and comfortable stay. There are both rustic 1-room cabins (sleep five on two full beds and one single), and Totem cabins (sleep four on two bunk beds).

Visit the Oregon Trail display in the park, take a stroll along the nature trail. Get your friends together and have a game at the full-size basketball court or partake in an evening program at the amphitheater (get the current schedule when you arrive at the campground). Bring your innertube for fun in the snow and enjoy a winter outing. Cabins are available year-round, but larger groups may want to rent the community building.

Use Emigrant Springs as a base camp to explore nearby attractions such as the Blue Mountain Crossing Oregon Trail interpretive park or the Pendleton Woolen Mills. Experience the life of Chinese emigrants of the 1800s in the Pendleton underground tours. Other destinations within easy driving distance of the park include the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center near Baker City, the Union County Museum in Union, the Baker County Museum in Baker City, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, the Pendleton Roundup and Lehman Hot Springs. Enjoy winter recreation at the Blue Mountain Crossing Nordic Ski park or bring your snowmobile and visit one of the many sno-parks which give you access to hundreds of miles of trails on two National Forests.

Popular activities at Emigrand Springs include camping, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, cabin stays, viewing the historic Oregon Trail site, attending programs, and viewing interpretive displays.

Emigrant Springs is located in Eastern Oregon, near the summit of Blue Mountains pass, along I-84, 26 miles southeast of Pendleton.

Climate in Eastern Oregon varies greatly with elevation. The higher elevations experience colder temperatures and higher precipitation than the lower elevations. The region is much more arid and experiences greater temperature variations than western Oregon. Much of Eastern Oregon is considered high desert, where in some areas annual precipitation is less than 10 inches. Summer temperatures often reach 90 degrees in the lower elevations. Winters can be bitterly cold here, although there is little humidity. The mountains can receive heavy snowfall. If visiting the region during the summer months be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms and chilly evening temperatures. Snow may be encountered on high country trails throughout the summer months.

1115 Commercial Street NE
Salem, OR 97301-1002

Phone: 800-551-6949

  • Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area Travel Q&A