Hilgard Junction State Park is next to Interstate 84 at its intersection with Highway 244 near the Grande Ronde River. The park offers camping and daytime activities among the cottonwood and ponderosa pine. The Grande Ronde River flows through the park, enticing anglers, rafters and swimmers. Beaver, mink, deer and a variety of birds inhabit the park area and can be viewed throughout the year.
Fall frosts give way to brightly colored foliage along the river corridor, and winter snows bring herds of elk and deer to the banks of the river. While camping at the park, you can see ruts of the historic Oregon Trail at the nearby Blue Mountain Crossing Interpretive Park, explore miles of open road in the national forest, or hop over to La Grande and stock up on groceries, have a meal or partake in community events.
If you're going to be traveling Interstate 84, be sure to stop at Hilgard Junction and spend a night or two and explore the natural beauty of eastern Oregon.
The first land was leased from the U. S. Forest Service in 1951, with a later lease in 1969. Two tracts were given to the state; one acre was donated by the Mt. Emily Lumber Company in 1952 and 79 acres by its successor, the Valsetz Lumber Company, in 1966. Other tracts were purchased from private owners. The park takes its name from the nearby junction on the Union Pacific Railroad line. Hilgard Junction was named for E. W. Hilgard, former dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of California. The logging railroad of the Mt. Emily Lumber Company once passed through the park area enroute to La Grande via connection with the Union Pacific.