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CURRENT CONDITIONS
50° F

Situated just north of La Grande, Oregon, Mount Emily Recreation Area (MERA) is an outdoor enthusiast playground. Encompassing 3,670 acres with 45 miles of motorized trails and another 45 miles of non-motorized trails, the options are prolific and the fun endless. MERA is open all year, offering four season views of the Grande Ronde Valley below. Nowhere else in our region can you find ORV trails, a motocross track, camping, non-motorized trails, and a 100 acre archery range all in one place.

  • What To Do
    • Hiking/ Biking

      MERA hosts 45 miles of trails ranging from beginner to advanced. Review the start guide to gain familiarity with the area. The trail map is extremely user friendly as well.

    • Camping

      Just a few miles from Owsley Canyon Trailhead, Fox Hill Campground is located on the motorized side of MERA and offers eight primitive campsites at no charge. Four pull-through sites and four back-in sites make it accessible for everything from tents to toy haulers. Campers are allowed to stay no longer than 14 days. Campsites include a picnic table and fire ring. A pit toilet is located nearby at the Fox Hill Trailhead.

    • Cross Country Skiing/ Snowshoeing

      Just when you think the recreating season at MERA is over, the snow starts to fall. Its really just a matter of changing gear. The winter trails are a great way to slow down and enjoy the forest.

  • What To Expect

    Thanks to a dedicated community and volunteer effort, the MERA trail system is well maintained and clearly marked. Beginner trails that are adult and child friendly are next to the trailhead, which means that you are never far from a bathroom as well (all parents can appreciate that fact). For those ready to explore, print a map and create a longer route weaving through vast possibilities. Truly, the MERA website is an amazing resource.

  • When To Go

    The Mount Emily Recreation Area is a rare and glorious four season, multi-use spot to play outside.

  • How To Get There

    Please do not solely rely on Google Maps as their route might not always reflect what is maintained.

    Owsley Canyon Trailhead From Walla Walla, take HWY 11 south. Five miles past Milton-Freewater turn left on Winn Road. Continue two miles and turn left onto HWY 204. Take HWY 204 east 37 miles and turn right onto Summerville Road. Follow for seven miles (Summerville Road will fork at 2.5 miles--keep left. It will fork again at 6 miles--keep left). Turn right on 4th street, which becomes McKenzie Lane, and drive two miles. Turn left on Hunter Road heading south for nine miles. Turn right on Booth Lane, which becomes Mt. Glenn Road, for 2.5 miles. Turn right on Blackhawk Lane for just a half mile. Turn right on Owsley Canyon Road and follow signs for the trailhead 2.5 miles ahead on your right.

    Fox Hill Campground From Owsley Canyon Trailhead make your way back to Blackhawk Lane and turn right, due West. The road will make a T; turn right to continue on Blackhawk Lane. Blackhawk Lane will become Fox Hill Road and the Fox Hill Campground will be on your right after two miles.

Please do not solely rely on Google Maps as their route might not always reflect what is maintained.

  • Your Public Lands

    MERA was established by Union County with help from Oregon State Parks and Recreation ATV Grant Program as well as Blue Mountain Habitat Restoration Grant Program. It is managed by Union County Parks Department with input from the MERA Advisory Committee, community partners, supporters, and volunteers.

  • Distance:

    Within 1.5 Hours

  • Difficulty Level:

    Day Tripper, Adventurer, Mountaineer

  • Seasons:

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

  • Elevation:

    2,900-5,600 feet

  • Pets:

    Yes

  • Reservations:

    N/A

  • ADA:

    No

  • Multi-Use:

    Yes

  • Motorized Vehicles :

    Yes

  • Fees

    There are no fees to use MERA. Consider making a donation to ensure this priceless community (and regional) resource thrives.

  • Permits

    None

  • Regulations

    Pets are not required to be on leash but must remain under control at all times. If mud sticks to your tires or shoes then stay off single track trails 700-799 and only use double track trails 600-699, or better yet wait until trails have had a chance to dry. Share the trails and be good stewards of the land. For a comprehensive list of rules, visit the MERA Rules page, and then make sure to follow them!

  • Amenities

    Owsley Canyon Trailhead offers a large parking area, designated horse trailer parking, restrooms, and picnic tables. There is no water or trash service available. Pack it in pack it out: this includes pet waste. The archery range is open to members only. Learn more about becoming an archery member at MERA.

  • Wildlife Awareness

    We are all so fortunate to recreate in the Blue Mountains. So many opportunities exist to play outside whether in a national forest, wilderness area, on a Wild and Scenic River, and more! With these opportunities comes great responsibility to appreciate that we are mere visitors and should all take pride in being good stewards of the wild. Many animals call these protected places home, including moose, elk, bear, cougar, bobcat, and snakes to name a few. Take precautions to respect their home and understand the appropriate response should an encounter occur. Additionally, many plant species thrive in the Blue Mountains, so staying on trail is always good practice. Carry First Aid supplies to better respond to accidents or encounters, and always let others know where the day's adventure is taking you.

  • Field Notes

    Navigation: Consider downloading the Avenza Map app. This app allows users to upload three maps (or unlimited with a subscription) to use offline. It can track your location offline and overlay GPS data from the phone onto the map. The vehicle use maps (for trails allowing motorized vehicles) are the easiest to use. Otherwise, Geo Tracker offers similar tracking capabilities and additional details about your adventure. If no service, Geo Tracker will at least show your location. The Blue Mountains and surrounding area offer a remote recreating experience, and knowing your location is paramount to staying safe. Always make sure to bring paper maps. Tell others where your adventure is taking you and when you expect to return.

    Difficulty Level: Here is what we are thinking when we assign a difficulty level: Day Tripper--You don't have much experience in the area but want to get outside! Great for families of all ages. Adventurer--You know your way around the Blue Mountains and love a leisurely day outdoors. Mountaineer--You are ready for a challenge. Wild places excite you and sweat is the goal. Small children beware. Keep in mind some activities may apply to multiple difficulty levels based on usage.

    Pets: In general, pets are allowed on a leash and under control throughout jurisdictions. The only restrictions we have encountered are around swimming areas. As a best practice, be mindful of riparian habitat in general. You never know where a precious spawning area might be located. Pack it in and pack it out applies to your furry friend as well.