Vale is where settlers on the historic Oregon Trail first saw Oregon. At first it was just a waystop at a log house built by pioneer Joseph Keeney, and it was replaced by the first permanent structure in Malheur County, the Louis Rinehart Stone House, in 1872. The two-story rustic sandstone building still welcomes travelers as a museum telling the tale of the Oregon Trail. Historical murals depicting life on the Trail grace buildings throughout the town, many over a century old.
Planning a visit? Stay at Vale Trails RV Park.
The multi-colored buttes around Vale in the high desert of Eastern Oregon are popular with hikers, particularly south of town in Leslie Gulch and Succor Creek. Bully Creek Park provides boating, water-skiing and fishing and nearby is Lake Owyhee State Park. The 417-foot high Owyhee Dam was the tallest in the world when it was completed in 1932, a prototype for the massive Hoover Dam.
Among its engineering firsts were the famous “morning glory” spillway that sends river water swirling down a vertical shaft. The resulting reservoir creates 53 miles of boating and fishing opportunities in “Oregon’s Grand Canyon.”