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Painted Hills

The Outdoors is Calling

Written by Oregon Media

The Outdoors is Calling

Hat Rock recreational opportunities are never ending in this beautiful country

For hikers, hunters, horseback riders and outdoor enthusiasts, it’s easy to find a variety of recreation year-round in Umatilla County.


Harris Park sits alongside the South Fork of the Walla Walla River and offers summer camping and outdoor recreation near Milton-Freewater. The Two Rivers area in the west county boasts the Umatilla Forks Campground, with dense forest and plenty of campsite privacy. Campsites with firepits are plentiful at Indian Lake, some of which are right next to the beach or boast their own horseshoe pit. Campsite reservations are suggested.


Crane in the McKay Creek Wildlife Refuge Visitors can spot dozens of wild animals in the Bridge Creek Wildlife Area, land protected to maintain key historic range for Rocky Mountain elk. Songbirds, deer and elk can be observed most of the year.  The McKay Creek Wildlife Refuge offers perfect hiking for families and birders looking to spot rare species. The Winom-Frazier National Forest is another great place to hike and spot wildlife.


The wide-open hills, valleys and river canyons of Umatilla County were made for horses and their human counterparts. Horseback riders can traverse through hundreds of miles of trails in the Umatilla National Forest during warmer months. Mount your trusty steed and try the Alder Creek Trail, the Willow Creek Trail or the Blue Mountain Trail for back-country horse riding fun.


Anglers will find an abundance of fishing on the Columbia River, the lake in Hat Rock State Park and at McKay Reservoir. On the Umatilla River, fishing is good for rainbow trout, and steelhead and salmon can be found on the lower river runs. Indian Lake is stocked regularly with Rainbow trout, and fishing is open May 1 through October 31. Fishing permits required.