Painted Hills


Written by Oregon Media


A history of cattle ranches and timber logging evolves to a modern artistic present

Joseph, Oregon Joseph turned its economic focus from logging and ranching to the arts in the 1980s. A community-wide effort to nurture the arts and bring the iconic western downtown up a notch utterly transformed this small community into a worthy destination for art lovers, shoppers and western culture seekers. Learn more at Josephy Center, a gathering place for arts in the county.

Wander downtown for art galleries and shops galore. Farm-to-table foods, artisan food products, and craft beer and spirits are on hand in Joseph. Cap a day in this charming town by relaxing at the Outlaw Restaurant and Saloon. This family-friendly establishment is done up in western decor, with outdoor seating that reveals an outstanding view of Chief Joseph, the mountain peak in the Wallowa Range, from the deck. Sip on craft beer or freshly made cocktails, dig into comfort food dishes like burgers, fajitas and chicken fried steak, and kick back and dine cowboy style.

Liquid Innovation

Stein Distillery Stein Distillery opened its doors in 2009, pioneering handcrafted micro-distilled spirits in Eastern Oregon. Every step of the process is done by hand, from grain growth to harvest to fermenting, distilling, filtering and bottling. In 2011, the company released their much-anticipated 2-year American oak-aged Straight Rye and Straight Bourbon Whiskeys. Visit their tasting room on Main Street in Joseph to try award-winning rum, vodka, cordials, whiskey and bourbon. Cocktails and flights are on hand, as well, from the spirited rhubarb lemonade to the whiskey mule. Cheers!


Northeast Oregon Arts Trail

New Art in the Old West

Arts centers, galleries, theaters and public art spotlight a vibrant range of artistic mediums and cultural events region wide. Find all that the cultural scene has to offer via the Northeast Oregon Arts Trail. You can cover the entire 225-mile scenic route in less than five hours, but we recommend that you slow down and take it section-by-section. In Joseph, start at the Josephy Center, and its Library of Western History and Culture, then continue on down Main Street. In September, don’t miss the Annual Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts.


Wildhorse Pow Wow

Courtesy of Wildhorse Resort and Casino

Chief Joseph Days, launched in 1946, has grown to become one of the largest community rodeos in the Northwest. The event more than doubles the population of Wallowa County for the week. Besides featuring one of the largest rodeos in the Northwest, the festivities include a Nez Perce encampment and pow wow, parades of the kid and grand varieties, dances, a golf tournament and a cowboy church service. Six days of Western entertainment are kicked off each year by a bucking horse stampede, which runs right down Main Street in Joseph. Don’t miss the cowboy breakfast, a fundraiser at the rodeo grounds which starts on Saturday night at 11 p.m. after the dances and continues through the night. Pancakes and bacon in the wee hours will carry you on through Sunday’s festivities.