Updated: Nov 28, 2022
A tree topped, drivable peak in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
Peak Name: Russel Mountain
Peak Coordinates: 45.068399, -117.086835 Peak Elevation: 7500′ Access: Drive up Location: Hells Canyon Recreation Area, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Oregon Note: The lookout tower is closed. Date: 8-18-20
I saw an off road from FS 66 that interested me. It climbed precariously up the side of a hill and looked like it might lead somewhere interesting. I looked at it on a map and it showed it went to the top of a “peak” named Russel Mountain. I decided to attempt to drive to the top even though the road looked rougher than the other road I’d been on.
The first section of road was going uphill on loose rock and the road was slanted at an angle. I just took it slow and easy and hoped I didn’t run into anyone going the opposite direction on that section. The road then made its way through forest working its way uphill. I made it to the top even though it was bumpy. There was one section I was barely able to make going uphill without 4 wheel drive (it wouldn’t be an issue coming back downhill.) There was a lookout tower and trailhead at the top. The lookout tower was closed. The view was nice, but nothing spectacular. I didn’t run into another car or person on my way up or down. It was a fun little spontaneous adventure.
How to get there (from Joseph, OR)
Take Oregon State 350 for 8.5 miles out of Joseph, OR. Turn right on Hells Canyon Scenic Byway (turns into FS 39) and continue for 40 miles. Turn right on FS 66 and proceed for 13.3 miles. Turn right on FS 450 and continue for 1.1 miles to the lookout.
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