What to do in Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area

The Sumpter Valley Dredge is nestled at the base of the majestic granite peaks of the Elkhorn Mountain Range. The Powder River is born deep within the range and picks up speed as it spills down the Sumpter Valley, traveling through the park before reaching Phillips Reservoir. This waterway was the vein of life during the boom days of the gold rush. The landscape still bears the scars. Miles of tailings line the banks of the river, a remembrance from the prosperous days of mining.

The Sumpter Valley Dredge — the centerpiece of the park — left much of the rocky footprint that you'll see on your trek along Highway 7. The dredge is an important link to Oregon's pioneering past and development. It is one of the largest and most accessible gold dredges in the U.S.

A half a century after the last dripping bucket load was lifted, the dredge stands silent. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear whispers of the hope, sweat and dreams of the people who worked on it. After visiting the dredge you may continue on the Elkhorn Scenic Byway to continue your trip into history.

Vital stats: There is no fee to use this park.

Recreation
Sumpter offers historic displays, historic programs and interpretive information. The park also offers opportunities for picnicking, hiking, wildlife watching and bird watching.

Location
Sumpter Valley Dredge is located in Eastern Oregon, off OR 7, 30 miles west of Baker City.

Climate
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.

Address
1115 Commercial Street NE
Salem, OR 97301-1002

Phone: 800-551-6949

  • Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area Travel Q&A

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