There are three ways to get to the new Minam River Lodge: private airstrip, horseback, or on your own two hiking-boot-clad feet. It’s 8 miles one-way to the secluded and off-the-grid retreat folded into the heart of Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness.
Set on 126 acres, the lodge once served as an outpost for hunters headed into the Wallowa Mountains, nicknamed the “Alps of Oregon” for their stunning beauty. In 2011, Oregonian Barnes Ellis bought the property and began crafting a boutique hideaway with space for 40 guests. “There just aren’t many places like this left in the world, where you’re completely removed from civilization but surrounded by comfort,” says Ellis, who rebuilt the lodge with four luxurious guestrooms, including the 600-square-foot Eagle Cap Suite featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, views across the river valley, and a freestanding copper soaking tub.
Ellis also added nine spacious cabins to the grounds, all hand-built using artisan techniques from native fir and stones harvested on-site. Boulder and Sabai are the most spacious cabins, featuring en suite bathrooms and such Western-inspired details as wagon-wheel chandeliers, carved stone sinks, and bespoke furniture. A cluster of teepees and wall tents also provide more authentic camping options.
Seasonal meals are served ranch-style in the dining hall or on outdoor decks under the stars, which are numerous, unencumbered by light pollution. Chef Carl Krause creates a menu from the lodge’s garden in addition to ingredients flown in from Eastern Oregon’s farms. Many dinners feature barbecue from the kitchen’s custom fire pit, and infusions from local plants give signature cocktails a kick. Beer is brewed on-site with the help of Terminal Gravity Brewery.
After days spent trekking, horseback riding, or fishing, guest can relax in the wood-fired hot tub, the riverside sauna, or with the help of the resident masseuse. Roughing it has never felt so good.