Day 2: Halfway to Wallowa Lake
MILES: 78 (83.8 W/ GRAVEL OPTION) | ELEVATION: 6,682’ (7,412’ W/ GRAVEL OPTION)
Get a good stretch in on those quads, hammies, and calves this morning because we have a lot of miles ahead of us. Don’t worry though, every single one of them is worth it!
As we leave Pine Eagle High School (go Spartans!) we find ourselves reunited with our old friend, Highway 86. After a pleasant downhill, we start climbing and don’t stop for about 20 miles. But as climbs go, this one is gorgeous. Breathe deep and smell those Ponderosas as the canyon occasionally opens up to reveal views that extend darn near forever.
At mile 10.5 we hang a left onto FSR 39 and at mile 30 keep an eye out for the sign for Hells Canyon Overlook. This optional excursion is a right hand turn that comes on a downhill, so if you’re cruising fast and not looking for it, you can blow right by it. We highly recommend checking out the overlook. It’s only an extra 5.8 miles round trip, and from up there you can see all the way to Idaho!
Directly after the overlook turnoff is an ear-to-ear grin-inducing winding descent into lunch. This section is so much fun and after this morning’s climb, you’ve definitely earned it. After lunch, you summit a few more hills and are thus rewarded with an extended downhill all the way through Joseph and on into Wallowa Lake State Park. As you’re finishing up those final miles, “Oregon’s Alps” unfold in front of you leading you to the day’s final destination on the shore of one of the state’s most picturesque lakes.
Day 2 is a long day, with lots of hills, but if your dreams tonight aren’t filled with endless vistas and majestic, snow-capped mountains, then you just weren’t paying close enough attention.
For even more inspiration, check out our video of The 2018 Classic.