“Welleweah”, or “River that flows into the far beyond”, is how Chief Joseph’s band of Nez Perce referred to this Northeastern Oregon gem of a river. It gushes out of the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area (with over 30 peaks 8000′ above sea level) of the Wallowa Mountains , and Elkhorn Mountains of the Blue Mountain Province . The canyon corridor is heavily forested with mixed conifers and has a lush green feel to it in the spring. As the season progresses, a full spectrum of beauty comes out in the fall, when the tamarack, willows, aspen, and dogbane turn every color of the rainbow.
With sky soaring peaks and silhouettes as jagged as a cross-cut saw, this canyon contains some of the prettiest mountains in Oregon. It is also home to a plethora of wildlife that rivals even Alaska in its diversity. In season, there are bald eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, turkey, miscellaneous predators, songbirds, shorebirds, waterfowl, and birds of prey. And, believe it or not, on some trips with a little luck you can see all of these species in just one day.
Great Family Friendly Rapids. With mostly class II and III rapids, this “watermelon run” offers king size fun without the worrisome risk that comes with more difficult whitewater. This is a place to maximize your leisure time and increase opportunities to view and photograph wildlife, catch fish, swim, hike, smell wildflowers, read a book, skip rocks, or just kick back and do nothing. Wine, dine, and decadently decline at days end.
A tremendous resident trout and anadromous steelhead fishery also make this river a true sportsmen’s paradise. Some of the finest fly fishing to be found anywhere in North America can be experienced in this incredible watershed.
Our trips begin at Minam Town, at the confluence of the Wallowa and Minam Rivers. Nine miles downriver is Rondowa, where we catch up to the Grande Ronde and continue on down it to float into the far beyond.
You may not have heard much about the “river that flows into the far beyond,” which is fine with us. Secret places lose their charm if everyone knows about it. If you enjoy finding a place where the answer to your echo, is your own voice, and not someone else’s, this is where you need to be.