The Old West is Alive and Well Details
Head east from the shadow of the Cascades to a different kind of Oregon where the spirit of the Old West lives on. Welcome to Eastern Oregon! Find yourself enthralled with vast landscapes of gently rolling colored hills, waving wheat fields, scenic wild rivers, colossal mountains shimmering in the sunlight, and the jaw-dropping depths of Hells Canyon, the deepest Gorge in North America (deeper than the Grand Canyon).
Breathtakingly beautiful, this is a world of down-to-earth people, ranches and rodeos, 4×4 pickup trucks, and western music. It is also home to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indians. Consisting of three tribes – the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla – the tribal members are proud of their Native traditions and customs that extend back more than 10,000 years.
Step back into this colorful past at the Wildhorse Powwow in Pendleton (www.pendletonchamber.com). Held during the 4th of July weekend each year, Wildhorse Resort & Casino (www.wildhorseresort.com) hosts this free event. Enjoy the pageantry of the Powwow and discover the deep tribal roots and social customs on display. Listen to stories as they unfold with the music and motion of traditional Native American drumming, singing and dancing.
Experience the color, tradition and incredible excitement as the tribal dancers bedecked with beads and feathers make their reverential grand entry. Don’t miss the wide array of vendors showcasing Native American arts, traditional craftwork, and food.
Nearby is the original Pendleton Woolen Mills (www.pendleton-usa.com) where you can take a free tour, learn about the history, and view the wool weaving process. Famous for their durable wool and bold prints, Pendleton blankets, clothing and fabric can also be purchased on site at the Mill Store.
Step back in time 100 years on an entertaining and interesting Pendleton Underground Tour (www.pendletonundergrountours.com). Experience the “real old West” as you tour the controversial red light district underneath restored historic buildings while you learn about the history that no one wanted to talk about. You can even have small groups stay at the Working Girls Hotel, a historic bordello.
To be even more immersed in the history, culture and hospitality of the people that have lived in Oregon for thousands of years, stop at the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute (www.tamastslikt.org) and experience dramatic interactive exhibits, artwork and special events and a Living Culture Village.
This itinerary made possible by a Travel Oregon grant.
Accommodations, Restaurants, and Attractions:
A Wildhorse Resort & Casino
B Red Lion Hotel
C Best Western/Pendleton Inn
D Oxford Suites
E Wildhorse Resort & Casino
F Rainbow Café
G Raphael’s Restaurant
H Hamley Steakhouse
I Heritage Station Museum
J Round-Up/Happy Canyon Hall of Fame
K Pendleton Convention Center
L Hamley & Co.