This excursion allows one to experience the many environs of the area and will also give you a look into the regions past. Joseph Canyon was a wintering ground for the Wallowa Band of the Nez Perce. The failed town of Flora was once a thriving pioneer town. Troy was settled by early Mormons in the 1890's.
Today, the Grande Ronde River Canyon remains an active spot for recreation. Each of these locations has something unique to offer and will give the explorer a greater appreciation of the area.
The Joseph Creek Viewpoint is an easy drive and one that anyone coming from the north can enjoy as it's right along highway 3. While not as vast or spectacular others, it is still nonetheless impressive and makes a great stop on your way when touring the small towns of Flora and Troy. It features reader boards that are very informative of the area's history. The return trip back from this vista is beautiful also, as you approach The Wallowas from this northerly direction through mountain meadows.
After taking in the view you're encouraged to in visit the small, mostly uninhabited town of Flora. It's a beautiful 7 mile drive that features scenic farms and some old pioneer homes and buildings from the frontier past. You can view the Flora Schoolhouse, a national historic building that was recently restored for the annual 'Flora Schools Days' celebration in early June. Spending time in Flora seems to bring up deep feelings in many people, from nostalgia to kinda creepy and is why it is now considered a ghost town.
FAIR WARNING: If you drive on further you can visit the beautiful little river town of Troy, but this journey is not for the fainthearted as the road turns to gravel and descends some 2300 feet to the Grand Ronde River. It's a little rough and winding, including some pretty steep drop-offs that may be too much for some travelers.
Even though the town is thought of as a fishing and camping area, the town still has a couple of dozen full time residents, a school, restaurant and an Inn.
In the summer the water is usually quite warm and good for swimming, but fishing and rafting are the main activities.
Distance Totals: Joseph to the Viewpoint: 36 Miles. To Flora: 43 miles. To Troy: 56 miles.
Road Conditions: Paved Hwy to Gravel, depending on destination.
Preparations: Gas up before you depart and check your spare. The full excursion takes up at least 4 hours and services can be non-existent, so bring water or better yet- plan a picnic.
Driving Directions: From Joseph head north for six miles staying on the main road (Hwy 82). After the courthouse the highway turns to the west; take the next right on to Hwy 3, north to Lewiston. From there you’ll travel through farm ground, then meadows and eventually into forest. This route is open range so watch out for cows, especially in the evening when they can be hard to spot on the road in shadow. At the 36 mile mark you'll find the viewpoint. From there, proceed another 4 miles north up Hwy 3 and turn left at the sign to Flora which is another 3 miles ahead. If you want to travel to Troy follow the signs north out of Flora past the creepy graveyard. When you get to the gravel part of the road and begin your decent be sure to slow down and watch those blind corners. Even if you spend minimal time at the viewpoint and Flora, it will take you at least two hours to get to Troy.