Reviews & Photos
August 10 2016
0 families found this helpful
Wallowa Lake Tramway
59919 Wallowa Lake Highway,
During a recent mother/son camping trip to Joseph, I was trying to do things we hadn't done before. I had seen the tram before and hadn't thought much about it. This year I decided it was time to give it a go and see what was up there. I have been in a lot of gondolas, but I don't think I have ever been in one this old before. The operators are super friendly and explain how everything works and safety is job 1. When this tram was installed in 1970, it was the steepest vertical lift in North America. The 3700' vertical trip takes about 15 minutes and the views are breath-taking.
At the top of the mountain we decided to start hiking the 2 miles of trails. There are very sensitive native plants in a vast ecosystem that hosts various animals in the area, and staying on the trails is imperative to protect them. Please respect that signage. I also saw a lot of people feeding the wildlife, which I was informed at the summit was actually illegal by orders of the National Forest Service (the critters are cute, but need to fend for themselves). The trail system provides vistas of at least 3 states (Washington, Oregon and Idaho - on clear days there are some who claim they can see into Montana), mountains galore, Wallowa Lake, and into Hells Canyon. It is a really amazing place.
There is also a spot where people like to jump off a perfectly good mountain and glide down with hang-gliders or parachutes. We didn't see anyone doing this, and decided there were more comfortable ways to descend.
There is also a restaurant at the top. It really reminded me of chalets in Europe when we were hiking in the mountains and that was great. The menu was limited and staff over-taxed (but they were really hustling and doing their best), but I didn't mind as I had the sun shining on me and the views were such I could have been there all day.
Prices were a bit steep for the Tramway. Adults were $31 for a day pass. My son was $21 (ages 4-11). Prices for Seniors and Students are $28 & $27 respectively. Kids under 3 are free. With a day pass you can ride as many times as you wish in the day and I hear the sunsets are beautiful from there.
August 10 2016
0 families found this helpful
Bend-Sunriver RV Campground
17480 South Century Dr,
"Yurt rentals just minutes from Sunriver and High Desert Museum!"
We do a lot of camping in our little teardrop trailer and have stayed in a lot of different types of campgrounds. We were given the opportunity to stay in a yurt, which we have never done before and decided that it was something that was right up our alley. We packed up and drove the 3.5 hours from Portland to just south of Sunriver to stay at Thousand Trails Bend-Sunriver RV Campground.
The campground is massive and hosts campers in RVs, trailers, and tents. Yurts and cabins of different sizes for rent as well. There is something for every type of camper here.
The campground boasts loads of activities from swimming in one of the 2 pools (one is for kids 18 and younger and the other is for "kids" 18 and over...aka adults), disc golf, mini-golf, pickle-ball, horseshoes, movies at dusk, playgrounds, floating the Little Deschutes River in inner tubes, and more. They also have a small store for incidentals and rent movies (including new releases) for $3/night. On the weekends, there is home-cooked breakfast available (menu in pictures for an idea of selection and prices). There are special events planned on a regular basis with performers coming and different fun themed activities as well (they were doing a special "Olympics" inspired race on Saturday for instance).
The main campsites were equipped with fire-rings and picnic tables. Some have power, but there is no sewer connections if that is something you need. The tent area (dry camp) is a field where you can pitch your tent. There are restrooms available, but not power/sewer here.
The Yurt we stayed in could sleep 7 people in beds. Two queen futon couches folded out and there was a bunk with a single up top and a queen down below. Our yurt also had a kitchenette with a 3 burner gas cook top, microwave and full size fridge. There was a large table to sit at as well. My son was pleased that there was a TV with cable, which is something we don't have when we camp normally. With the Olympics on, it was kind of nice. We had a full bathroom with shower in our yurt as well as air conditioning and a propane stove for heat. Outside we had a big deck with BBQ, fire pit and table and chairs. Linens were an additional cost, but if you bring your sleeping bag and towels you will be fine without them.
Our first night in the park was probably the loudest I have ever experienced in a campground. I am not sure what was going on, but screaming and yelling was going on until nearly 1am, and then the sirens from a neighboring firehouse were blaring from 1:30a-2:00a. It was the roughest night sleep I have had in a while and the fabric sides of the yurt just don't do a very good job of stopping noise. We decided to give them a second try and stayed the second night which was a little better (no sirens, less traffic and screaming). Quiet hours start later, at 11pm, than most campgrounds we have stayed around the country (the norm is 10p-8a in our experience). In speaking with one of the workers, she says loops G and H are the quietest in the campground and you don't hear anything. Where the yurts are located you hear everything. If we camp here in my teardrop in the future I will make sure to keep that in mind. I wanted to give them a higher score than 3 stars, but the noise was a real issue.
Other than that we found all of the staff very friendly and helpful. My son's favorite activity was floating the river on inner tubes. It was great putting in right at the campground and they drove down in a van and picked us up at the well marked take out. They have life jackets for kids, but the river is very slow and relaxed and no more than 4.5 feet in most spots. It was very a really nice activity for a hot day!
We want to thank the folks at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground for hosting our stay in the yurt. As always, the opinions expressed here are our own and we were under no obligation to leave a positive review.
July 22 2016
1 family found this helpful
Joseph Branch Railriders
304 North Main Street,
"We did the tour from Joseph to Enterprise which was a 2 hour tour. The scenery was stunning! Bring sunscreen, hats and sunglasses as there isn't a lot of shade during your ride. Cold drinks are available for purchase or bring your own!"
My 8-year-old son and I did our annual mama/son camping trip to Joseph this last weekend and I made it my mission to do a few things we have never done before! We had heard a lot about the Railriders tours and so I showed my son the information and he got very excited. Railriders are special cars that run along railroad tracks that are no longer being used by trains. The "cars" you ride on are powered by YOU! They are similar to recumbent style bikes, but have 4 wheels that run along the rails. You pedal them and move at the pace that works for you. The cars are geared low enough that going up hill is a little bit of a challenge, but not too hard and they are pretty awesome during those downhill coasting sessions!
The tour I booked was the Joseph to Enterprise tour, which is 2 hours and 12 miles (round-trip). You are surrounded by the Wallowa Mountains and our active Oregon family farms and ranchesduring the ride. The scenery could not have been prettier and we had a beautiful sunny day which got quite warm towards the end!
Joseph sits at a higher elevation than Enterprise, so the first half of the ride is all "downhill". The grade is around 1.2% on average, but it is some work when the cars are turned around and you have to ride back. We are not avid bikers and were really feeling our legs upon our return, but we felt a huge sense of accomplishment that we didn't need any help. There were a few moments where I thought we might! Help is available if you need it though. The tour guide has a motorized car that will help push you along if you decide you need an extra boost and there were people on our tour who wanted it, so it is used!
For folks who might like a longer ride, there is a 26 mile (round-tip) option available between the towns of Minam and Wallowa. The grade on that ride is 1% and the tour is around 6 hours making it better suited for older kids and more adventurous souls!
My son really loved this and said it deserved a 5 star rating. He says kids 8 and up should do pretty well peddling although some parts were harder than others. I really enjoyed the tour too. We would highly recommend the tour for folks of all ages. Smaller kids are also welcome to join, but probably won't be much help when it comes to peddling because their feet wont reach the peddles. They can sit back and enjoy the ride in car seats in the adjacent seat to their parents.
We want to thank the folks at Joseph Branch Railriders for hosting our tour and helping us get the "wiggles" out before our 6 hour drive home. As always, the opinions expressed here are our own and we were under no obligation to leave a positive review - they earned it!
June 11 2016
2 families found this helpful
Lewis and Clark Caverns
"Awesome caving and camping!"
During a roadtrip to Yellowstone we headed toward Butte, MT so we could camp at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park.
The campground is right off the road, and was very easy to find. There isn’t too much in the way of shade in most spots so expect being exposed to the elements. Once the sun drops behind the hills around 8:00p you will be relieved of the sun.
There is a really nice playground for kids which was nice to run some of the energy off. The kids were having a blast. The campground was packed with families and seems to be quite popular.
The campground has flushing toilets, showers ($2.00/5-minutes), and our site had a fire ring, picnic table, water and electric.
There is a visitor’s center right next to the campground that gives information about the caverns which are up the hill about 5 minutes by car. You can pick up a Jr. Ranger Packet and badges here as well!
Make sure you head up the hill to see the view, even if you aren’t able to go into the cave. It is a bit of a hike to get to the cave entrance, and being at altitude makes it even harder than usual. Just be aware of that as you find you are a little winded quicker than usual!
The cave is one of the best I have been to. It is a series of steps up and down, you have to slide along the rock at one point, and you see some amazing formations. All tours are guided, which will give you better understanding of the geological features and the guides are full of explanations, plenty of puns and jokes, and show you everything you might want to see. It was great! If you are lucky, you might even see some of the bats that call the caverns home! The fees to tour the caverns are $10/adult and $5/kid.
This is an area I would love to bring my husband back to, as he wasn’t able to join us. It is a really amazing and ever-changing place. The campground gives you everything you need as well and we would recommend staying here. It is only about 2 hours from the West Entrance of Yellowstone also, which gave us an easy drive to Madison Campground for our next night of our trip.
May 09 2016
0 families found this helpful
11945 SW Pacific Hwy Suite #121,
"Harness your inner Katniss or Robin Hood!"
Last summer we enrolled my son into PDX Trackers camp. This is an outdoors camp in Portland and it was perfect because he really wanted to learn archery. He spent a week running through the forest, visiting archery ranges, and learning all of the aspects of beginning archery. He was completely hooked and was asking for his own bow. We held off until Christmas, when we surprised him.
What we didn't realize is that our entire family was going to follow in his footsteps and we all have bows now! With that being the case, we needed a place to go since open shooting isn't allowed within city limits (unless you are at one of our archery ranges).
We did a quick search, asked some friends and all paths pointed to Archers Afield. This place has everything you need from an awesome shop with compound and recurve bows to all of the accessories you need to shoot them. The folks working here will set up your new bow just for your body as well and are super nice and very supportive. Kids are very welcome here and are included in tournaments and there are lots of classes set up just for them. There are weekly classes for home-schoolers and evening classes for families to come in and learn to shoot together. There are also intro classes for adults who want to learn the basics.
They have 2 indoor ranges open for shooting. You pay a lane fee by the day and can shoot as long as you like. Bow rentals are available if you want to try it out before investing in your own bow. This is a great way to go to figure out which bow strength will work best for you.
When you get comfortable you can participate in the tournaments they host, and if your kiddo wants a "Hunger Games" or "Robin Hood" themed birthday you can call them to book! They have a special area where birthday parties are hosted.
If you are looking for a great family-friendly place to do archery, it doesn't get better than this. Check them out!