Just 15 miles north of Elgin, Oregon, there is a quiet retreat on a remote section of the Grande Ronde River. A small dispersed camping area with direct access to a Wild and Scenic River, Palmer Junction is also near the Lookingglass Fish Hatchery, which rears spring Chinook salmon for the Imnaha and Grande Ronde Rivers.

  • Distance:

    1.5 - 2.5 Hours

  • Difficulty Level:

    Day Tripper

  • Seasons:

    Spring, Summer, Fall

  • Elevation:

    2,400 feet

  • Pets:


  • Reservations:


  • ADA:


  • Multi-Use:


  • Motorized Vehicles :


  • Your Public Lands

    Bureau of Land Management

  • What To Do
    • Camping

      Palmer Junction is a small, primitive campground (dispersed site) adjacent to the Wild and Scenic Grande Ronde River just above the confluence with the Wallowa River.

    • Fishing

      Trout fishing is open all year from the state line to Meadow Creek. Fisherman are allowed to keep five hatchery rainbow trout per day. Wild rainbow trout must be released below the Wallowa River. The season for hatchery steelhead is January 1 through April 30 and September 1 through December 31. Use of bait is allowed. Fishing regulations are highly specific and based on location and species. Please always consult the latest information available from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

  • How To Get There

    Please do not solely rely on Google Maps as their route might not always reflect what is maintained. From Walla Walla, take HWY 11 south through Milton-Freewater, OR. Travel another five miles and turn left on Winn Road. Follow this little backroad for two miles and then turn left to connect with HWY 204. Travel east on HWY 204 for approximately 39 miles and turn left onto Middle Road. Middle Road will become Hartford Lane after a bend to the right. Take the first left to rejoin Middle Road and continue north for 2 miles. The road will become Gordon Creek Road after a bend to the right, and then becomes Palmer Junction Road after a bend to the left. Stay on Palmer Junction Road for 10 miles as it winds its way until you reach Moses Creek Lane. Take a right, and follow for 2.5 miles. At the end of Moses Creek Lane the road will fork, keep right and make your way toward the river passing by a residence and then over railroad tracks to arrive at the Palmer Junction Campground.

  • When To Go

    The camping area is open year round as is trout fishing. Check the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife website for additional seasons for other species. If you are in the market to try a new area and would like to be near water, this camping area could be a good option for a summer camping trip. Depending on the flow of the river, the family could splash around in the water to cool off and explore.

  • What To Expect

    This is a primitive campground with just a few suitable locations to make camp. It is quite isolated and the nearest services are 15 miles away in the town of Elgin, Oregon. The Lookingglass Fish Hatchery is just a few miles away and offers the public self-guided tours and informative displays. There is an area to launch a raft or kayak if you plan on floating the river. To enjoy the views, a quick drive part way up Lookout Mountain Road won't disappoint.

  • Fees


  • Permits


  • Regulations

    Fishing licenses are available online via the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife or locally at Ranch & Home in Milton-Freewater, OR off HWY 11 on your way out of town. Remember, you have to purchase an Oregon fishing license in Oregon.

    The Bureau of Land Management allows dispersed camping on public land for a period not to exceed 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period. The 28 day period begins when a camper initially occupies a specific location on public lands. The 14 day limit may be reached either through a number of separate visits or through 14 days of continuous overnight occupation during the 28 day period. After the 14th day of occupation, the camper must move outside of a 25 mile radius of the previous location until the 29th day since the initial occupation. The purpose of this special rule is to prevent damage to sensitive resources caused by continual use of any particular areas. In addition, campers must not leave any personal property unattended for more than ten days.

  • Amenities

    One portable toilet is on site.

  • 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.