Beneath the towering ponderosa pine and cottonwood of Northeastern Oregon sits this little slice of heaven. The Grande Ronde River flows through the park, so grab an inner tube and float on down--without getting tangled in the overhanging weeping willows. Or grab your fishing pole and see if you can reel in some dinner. Try to spot beaver, mink, deer, and a bustle of birds on the river bank.
History buffs, rejoice: at the nearby Blue Mountain Crossing Interpretive Park you can actually see the ruts made by wagons rolling through the Oregon Trail in this area. Ideally situated right off of Interstate 84, the park serves as a great homebase for exploring the miles of scenic roads that wind through the region. And forget noisy crowds; with only 18 primitive campsites, this is the perfect place to hide away for the weekend.
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History of Hilgard Junction State Park
The first land was leased from the U. S. Forest Service in 1951, with a later lease in 1969. Two tracts were given to the state; one acre was donated by the Mt. Emily Lumber Company in 1952 and 79 acres by its successor, the Valsetz Lumber Company, in 1966. Other tracts were purchased from private owners. The park takes its name from the nearby junction on the Union Pacific Railroad line. Hilgard Junction was named for E. W. Hilgard, former dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of California. The logging railroad of the Mt. Emily Lumber Company once passed through the park area enroute to La Grande via connection with the Union Pacific.