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Painted Hills

The Oregon Trail in Umatilla County

Written by Oregon Media

The Oregon Trail in Umatilla County

go in search of the ruts

Emigrants on the Oregon Trail found the fertile valley of the Umatilla River an excellent place to camp. The Whitman Mission was just to the north in Walla Walla, Washington, where they could buy supplies, and the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Native American tribes were happy to trade with the settlers in what is now Umatilla County. Look for signs of the trail in these locations.


Follow the Oregon Trail signs to First Street and Frazier, where emigrants made temporary base camp as they gathered supplies before carrying on to the Willamette Valley.

Downtown Echo, Oregon Echo

The Oregon Trail crosses the Umatilla River at Fort Henrietta Park, the site of a former military stockade that replaced the Umatilla Indian Agency destroyed in the Yakama Indian wars.

Echo Meadows

At Echo Meadows, emigrants rested before traveling on westward towards the John Day and Deschutes Rivers. Look for wagon ruts and interpretive signs on a short hike here.

Stanfield Rest Area

Emigrants passed by here while following the Umatilla to the Columbia River. Read about the struggles of their journey and lives in camps along the way here.

Pendleton Underground Tours Exhibit

Pendleton Underground Tours

subterranean storytelling

Tour the underground network of rooms and passageways in Pendleton for an exceptional historical account of some of the lesser-known facts and legends of the region’s past. Learn about local Chinese immigrants and their role in building Eastern Oregon. Also hear true Wild West tales of brothels, bootlegging and gambling in the town’s Red Light District.