Sumpter, Oregon

Sumpter, Oregon had its beginnings with the discovery of gold in 1862 and today you can see how it was mined, pan gold yourself, and enjoy the spectacular scenery.

It is located in the beautiful Elkhorn Mountains of Eastern Oregon which provide opportunities for people to enjoy nature, camping, gold panning, fishing, backpacking, fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hiking, and cross country skiing.

You can still see evidence of the gold mining that was done here until 50 years ago. The Powder River was dredged for gold and the tailings from that activity are clearly in evidence. The last dredge used is on display in the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area. The estimated amount of gold taken out of the ground by dredging would equal almost $100,000,000 at todays prices. 

Base Camp Baker

Just outside of town you can try your luck at panning for gold at the Cracker Creek Mining Camp. They will provide all the equipment you need and give you lessons as well. This is not just a "theme park" activity where a few flakes have been planted for you to find. There really is gold in Cracker Creek and it is replenished every winter by the high, swift water. This is one of the largest continuous gold veins in North America.

Base Camp Baker

On weekends during the summer you can take a ride on a narrow gauge steam train with the Sumpter Valley Railroad. Special train trips with photo stops are made in October and December. Tickets are available at the depot in Sumpter.

Stop in at the Sumpter Municipal Museum where you can see artifacts and pictures from Sumpter's early days.

Base Camp Baker

Sumpter has three well-known flea markets each year. They are held on Memorial Day weekend, Independence Day, and Labor Day weekend. They have been holding these markets since the 1970's and vendors come from all over.

In August they hold Music in the Meadow and in October there is the Antique Fair.

The Elkhorn Scenic Byway is a 106-mile drive that takes you through the Elkhorn Mountains where you will see the ghost towns of Haines and Granite, the Grande Ronde Lakes, and past the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

Base Camp Baker

Where to Stay in Sumpter, Oregon

Well, for a town with a population around 200, Sumpter has some pretty good choices of places to stay. There is a lot more to do here than is possible on a day trip so spending a night or two here is a good idea.

The Depot Inn has rooms and plenty of parking space if you are pulling a trailer.

The Sumpter Pines RV Park has full-hookup spaces, tent sites, dump station, and laundry facilities.

For more on gold prospecting in Oregon visit Oregon Gold Prospecting.

Sumpter Oregon