Summer Travels 2016 – The Dalles Dam, Joseph, and Wallowa Lake, Oregon

After heading out for my RV travels on January 1, 2016, I returned home to Washington State after 6 months to spend some time with my family and pick up my two older grandchildren before heading out for a month-long RV trip with them. We left Washington on June 27, 2016, and our first stop was The Dalles Dam, Oregon.

The United States Army Corp of Engineers constructed The Dalles Dam between 1952 and 1957. The dam was a significant part of the federal government’s effort during the twentieth century to develop the hydropower and navigation potential of the Columbia River. Located 192 miles upstream from the mouth of the Columbia, the dam is two miles east of the City of The Dalles. We visited the Vistors Center which had some fun things for the kids to do and they were able to dress up like park rangers. The center had a lot of interesting history and information about the dam

Our travels then took us up to Pendleton, Oregon where we decided to drive to Wallow Lake and the town of Joseph, Oregon. It was a hot summer day and Wallow Lake sounded so beautiful and the perfect place to relax and go swimming.

The drive from Pendleton to Joseph was a two-hour and a half-hour drive and so beautiful! Of course, it took us a bit longer as we made a few stops for pictures. The road followed the river through beautiful scenery filled with farms, farmland, and woods.

The town of Joseph, Oregon is located at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains. It is an awesome, beautiful little town with a population of about 1,081 and was incorporated in 1887. Joseph was originally named Silver Lake and Lake City, but in 1880 the name was formally changed to Joseph for Chief Joseph (1840-1904) of the Nez Perce people. Joseph’s economy was originally based around agriculture, especially grain and stock. In 1908 after a railroad line was completed a lumber mill opened. When the timber industry collapsed in the 1980s and the unemployment rate went up a new industry sprang up in 1982 when three bronze foundries opened in the area. We did not make any stops in town as our objective was to go to the lake to swim and get cooled off.

Wallowa Lake and the Wallowa Mountains were just beautiful. The most gorgeous blue, clear water of Wallowa Lake reminded me so much of where I grew up in Truckee, CA, swimming in Donner Lake and Lake Tahoe. The grandkids just loved this lake and it was a welcome relief from the heat. It was a great day of swimming, drying off in the sun, and eating lunch on the lawn.

At an elevation of 4,372 ft and surrounded by high moraines, Wallowa Lake was formed by a series of Pleistocene Glaciers.


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