Hat Point Scenic Overview - Oregon Scenic Drives


Hat Point, 6,982 feet high, and balanced on the west edge of Hells Canyon, overlooks the deepest gorge in North America. The Snake River, elevation 1,276 feet, and Idaho's Seven Devils Mountains, over 9,000 feet in elevation, are both visible from the vantage of Hat Point.

The viewpoint is accessible by car on a dirt and gravel surface road and is 24 miles from the town of Imnaha. The trip takes from 2.5 to 3 hours. At this time the road is not recommended for vehicles with low clearance and trailers are not advised; however, the road is being upgraded with completion expected in 1990.The name Hat Point originated from a cowboy losing his hat in the brush while riding an unruly horse. The hat hung in the brush for some time and the stream, Hat Creek, was named for it. This high point near the headwaters of Hat Creek was also named after it.

Set your odometer at 0 in Imnaha to use the following information:

5.2 mile- Five Mile Viewpoint is an excellent view of the Imnaha River Valley and the distant Wallowa Mountains. The elevation here is 4,629 feet--a climb of 2,655 feet in the last five miles.

9.7 mile- Note the rock cairn on the right. This one appears to mark Hideaway Springs, just ahead. Some cairns have old lichen growths which indicate they predate the white men. These and other historic and prehistoric cultural resources are protected by Federal laws. Please do not disturb them so others may also enjoy and learn.

10.8 mile- Viewpoint overlooking Imnaha Canyon on the right and Horse Creek Canyon on the left.

17.1 mile- Granny Viewpoint is accessed by a one-eighth mile loop on the right. This 6,345-foot viewpoint overlooks the Imnaha River.

18.5 mile- Western Rim National Recreation Trail, #1774, leaves on the right to Lookout Mountain, Freezeout Saddle and the Snake River.

18.8 mile- Saddle Creek Viewpoint and Campground overlook Hells Canyon. Picnic and camping facilities are available, but no potable water. The area you are looking down into is accessible only by packstring, foot or boat.

21.8 mile- The Memaloose airstrip and helitack base were built for fire suppression. Please do not drive on the airstrip.

22.2 mile- Road #4240 continues straight ahead to Warnock Corrals and Lord Flat. Road #4240-315 on the right leads to the lookout.

24.0 mile- You have arrived at Hat Point. There are picnic and primitive overnight camping facilities. Sacajawea Campground is one-half mile north of Hat Point.

Using the Forest without seriously changing or damaging it will help others to enjoy the Forest as much as you have. Please pack out what you pack in.

Campfires are fun but they can have a heavy impact on the environment. Lush grass which dries during the summer, produces periods of extreme fire danger. Please be careful withfire at all times.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 20 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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