Joseph Travel Guide

A detailed guide to explore the culturally rich and naturally beautiful town of Joseph, Oregon in the Pacific Northwest region.

Introduction to Joseph

Nestled in the lap of picturesque Wallowa valley, Joseph is a quaint town in Eastern Oregon that boasts of a rich cultural heritage, scenic backdrops, and an active outdoor recreation scene. Surrounded by the Wallowa Mountains and the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the town is home to a thriving arts and crafts community, local festivals, and a vibrant food scene.

List of Places to Visit in Joseph

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Wallowa County Museum - Explore the rich cultural and artistic history of the Wallowa Valley region at this museum.
  • Alley Cat Gallery - A hidden gem of local artists and artisans, this gallery seeks to promote regional artists and provides a space for exhibitions and cultural events.

Natural Attractions of Joseph: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Wallowa Lake - Enjoy a plethora of activities like fishing, boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding amongst the stunning backdrops of the Wallowa Mountains.
  • Eagle Cap Wilderness - With over 300 miles of hiking trails, Eagle Cap Wilderness is the ultimate destination to experience some of Oregon’s finest scenery.
  • Oregon Trail Interpretive Center - Learn about the rich history of Oregon’s settlers and explore their methods of survival in the mid-1800s while traversing the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Joseph

  • Chief Joseph Trail - This 4.5-mile trail features breathtaking views of Wallowa Lake and Crystal Lake while sharing the history of the iconic Chief Joseph.
  • Hurricane Creek Trail - This moderate 10-mile trail leads to beautiful Hurricane Creek Falls and is ideal for hiking enthusiasts.
  • Wallowa Lake Trail - A 3.5-mile trail that circumnavigates Wallowa Lake, the Wallowa Lake Trail offers stunning scenic views and easy access to water activities.

Best Things to Do in Joseph: Activities and Tours

  • Oregon State Park - A perfect place for a picnic, Oregon State Park is surrounded by the snow-capped Wallowa Mountains and offers water activities for visitors.
  • Wallowa Valley Scenic Tour Train - Take in the mountainous views aboard the historic train while listening to stories and legends of the area.
  • Joseph Bronze Art Walk - Admire the artistry of local sculptors on a picturesque walking tour of downtown Joseph.

Week-Long Itinerary for Joseph

Day 1 Arrival & Wallowa County Museum Tour
Day 2 Wallowa State Park Picnic & Boat Ride
Day 3 Oregon Trail Interpretive Center & Hurricane Creek Trail Hike
Day 4 Wallowa Valley Scenic Train Tour & Joseph Bronze Art Walk
Day 5 Eagle Cap Wilderness Adventure Day
Day 6 shopping at Alley Cat Gallery & Wallowa Lake Trail Walk
Day 7 Departure Day

Food and Drink Scene of Joseph

Must-Try Dishes

  • Huckleberry Creme Brulee at Red Horse Coffee Traders - A divine dessert made with locally picked huckleberries and homemade custard, this dish is a must-try for those with a sweet tooth.
  • Burger at RimRock Inn - A juicy burger made with local beef served with a side of truffle fries, this dish is a favorite among patrons.
  • Pork Tenderloin at Embers Brewhouse - Juicy pork tenderloins served with homemade fries and local beer make for a perfect meal.

Local Beverages

  • Terminal Gravity IPA at Terminal Gravity Brewing - Made with locally sourced ingredients, Terminal Gravity’s IPA is a hit among beer enthusiasts.
  • Huckleberry Margarita at Glacier Grill & Pizza - Made with locally sourced huckleberry syrup, this beverage is a perfect mix of sweet and tangy flavors.
  • Spiced Cider at Wild Carrot Herbals - A warm and soothing beverage made with organic spices and local apple cider, this drink is perfect for chilly evenings.

Where to Stay in Joseph: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast - A charming and cozy guesthouse with modern amenities, perfect for couples looking for a romantic stay.
  • Eagle Cap Chalets - Luxury rental cabins surrounded by the serene wilderness of Joseph, perfect for families.
  • Park at the River Bed & Breakfast - A budget-friendly BnB located in close proximity to the town center and ideal for solo travelers.

What to Buy in Joseph: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Huckleberry Jam and Syrup - Made with locally sourced huckleberries, these jams and syrups make for perfect souvenirs or gifts.
  • Bronze Sculptures - Joseph is known for its bronze sculptures and visitors can find unique pieces at local art galleries.
  • Handmade Quilts and Rugs - Joseph has a thriving handcrafts community, and visitors can take back beautiful quilts and rugs made by locals as keepsakes.

Local Culture and Customs of Joseph

Joseph is home to a thriving arts and crafts community, and visitors can experience the culture by attending art shows, galleries, and festivals throughout the year. The town also has a deep connection to the Nez Perce Tribe, and visitors can learn more about their history and culture at the Nez Perce Wallowa Homeland Center.

Best Time to Visit Joseph

The best time to visit Joseph is from mid-June through September when the weather is mild, and outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and boating are in full swing. The fall season is also a great time for experiencing fall colors as the leaves change, and the weather is still pleasant.

Do’s and Don’ts of Joseph


  • Respect the culture and traditions of the local community.
  • Try local cuisine and drinks and interact with locals.
  • Take care of the environment and wildlife.


  • Disrespect the local customs and practices.
  • Litter or damage the natural habitats of plants and animals.
  • Engage in activities that can harm local wildlife.

Safety and Health

Safety in Joseph

Joseph is a safe and calm town with a low crime rate. Visitors should take the usual precautions like locking their cars and not leaving them unattended.

Health in Joseph

Joseph doesn’t have any major health concerns, but visitors who plan to experience outdoor activities should carry appropriate gear and seek medical attention in case of any injuries or ailments.

Getting to Joseph: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Joseph

The nearest airport is the Eastern Oregon Regional airport which is approximately 100 miles from Joseph. Alternatively, visitors can also use Portland International Airport and then travel to Joseph either by rental cars or public transportation.

Bus Stations Near Joseph

The nearest bus stations are in La Grande, Oregon, and the Boise, Idaho Greyhound bus stations that are approximately 90 miles away from Joseph.

Other Options

Visitors can also travel to Joseph by car or bike, accessing the town through the scenic Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.

How to Get Around in Joseph

As it is a small town, visitors can easily explore Joseph by foot, bike, or car. Rental cars and bikes are available in town, and there are also taxi services for those who prefer to have a chauffeur-driven experience.

Where to Go Next from Joseph: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Hells Canyon - located less than two hours from Joseph, visitors can explore the breathtaking views of Hells Canyon by foot, bike, or water activities.
  • Baker City - A historic town located approximately 160 miles from Joseph, Baker City boasts of a rich cultural and artistic heritage.
  • Pendleton - Known for its famous Pendleton Round-Up, this historic town is approximately 240 miles from Joseph.


Joseph is an ideal destination for those looking to experience the perfect blend of natural and cultural beauty. From scenic views, outdoor recreation, to art galleries and historic sites, Joseph has something for everyone. With this comprehensive tour guide, visitors can explore the town’s hidden gems and leave with memories that will last a lifetime.