Bureau of Land Management National Park Service US Fish and Wildlife Service US Forest Service

Grande Ronde River, Oregon

Managing Agency:

Bureau of Land Management, Baker Field Office
U.S. Forest Service, Umatilla National Forest
U.S. Forest Service, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest


Designated Reach:

October 28, 1988. From its confluence with the Wallowa River to the Oregon-Washington border.


Classification/Mileage:

Wild — 26.4 miles; Recreational — 17.4 miles; Total — 43.8 miles.

Grande Ronde River

Grande Ronde River

Flowing through mixed ownership (state, private, BLM and Forest Service) the Grande Ronde River is located in northeast Oregon. The designated segment begins at the confluence with the Minam River near Rondowa and terminates near the Oregon-Washington border. The river's outstandingly remarkable values include its scenery, recreation, fisheries, and wildlife.

The Grande Ronde River corridor contains a diversity of landforms and vegetation that capture the attention of the viewer. River users see a largely untouched viewshed in the upper river reach, while the lower portion flows through open, grass covered hills with forested pockets and tributary canyons accessed by roads.

There are many recreational opportunities on the Grande Ronde. Those judged to be exceptional in quality include: anadromous and resident fishing, floating (rafting, canoeing and kayaking for overnight use, and big game viewing and hunting.

River trips with float craft typically begin at Minam on the Wallowa River. Additional access points include Mud Creek, Troy and Boggan's Oasis. Primitive campsites along the river are on a first-come first served basis. Many portions of the river are roadless and primitive with limited access by vehicles.

The river and its major tributaries provide spawning and rearing habitat for wild and hatchery stock of spring Chinook, fall Chinook, summer steelhead and rainbow trout. It is also nationally renowned for its sport fishery. Fishing is excellent late in the season after the water levels have receded.

Big game animals inhabiting the river corridor include mule and whitetail deer, elk, black bear, cougar and bighorn sheep. The river corridor provides critical wintering habitat for these species, and also serves as a wintering area for bald eagles.

The Nez Perce, Umatilla, Walla Walla and Cayuse Indians lived in the reaches of the Grande Ronde. Evidence of the cultural history can be glimpsed in the form of historic and prehistoric places and objects on the public lands. These cultural resource sites are fragile and irreplaceable, and the law protects this cultural history.