About Wallowa County

The area now known as Wallowa County, Oregon, is the ancestral home of the Joseph Band of Nez Perce, known as the wal̓wá·ma. They spent summers in the Wallowa Valley, and winters in the low canyons of the Imnaha River and Joseph Creek. Well known leaders include Tıwi·teqıs (Chief Joseph the elder) and his sons Hinmató·wyalahtq'it (Chief Joseph the younger), and Ollikut (Little Frog). Please take time to learn more at the Nez Perce Wallowa Homeland website—and visit the interpretive center and shared public grounds in Wallowa on your next visit!

In the late 1800s, European-American settlers began ranching, logging, mining, and farming the lush valley. Some of the world’s best hay is grown here, as well as wheat and alfalfa, but the main “crop” is cow-calf pairs. Wallowa County has 7,000 people and 30,000 cattle! At 4,300 feet in altitude, our short growing season is a little rough on tender crops like tomatoes and melons, but stalwart small farmers across the county produce enough to support market gardens and a few family-scale crops.

Wallowa County is at the end of the road—and we like it that way! When your town isn’t on the way to anywhere else, you know that people are there on purpose. We aren’t afraid of “missing out” on cities’ big shows, the fancy meals, the newest whatever-it-is. We know how to make our own fun—with local theater, concerts and music festivals, and art shows. Our kids learn to be artists as well as athletes, agriculturalists, and scholars. We’re not just consumers of culture—we’re creators.

Learn more about Wallowa County at the Chamber of Commerce website.