Wheeler County Ghost Town and landscape

Wheeler County is one of Oregon's least-travelled and sparsest-populated Countys. It seems that all major development, both modern and historical, have pretty much passed by this peaceful county. The canyons are full of big sage, and everywhere there is juniper on the hills. The higher mountains have fine pine forests. Over all is a whole lot of quiet.

Actual statistics: Population of Wheeler County was officially estimated at only 1,404 person in 2006, which is nearly a 10% DECREASE since 2000...The County's area is 1,713 square miles, or just a tiny bit smaller than Clackamas County-- but Clackamas County has a population 270 times larger!...... The town of Fossil is the county seat of Wheeler County and the county's only town of any significant size. The historic Wheeler County courthouse building is pictured below. It was built in 1909.


Wheeler County, like the Oregon High Desert to the south, is pervaded by a quietness and sense of space. In the image below, it is mid-summer in one of the side canyons near Mitchell. The golden hills were singing with brillance and heat, set off against a deeply blue sky. A trace of white cloud hinted at moisture, but it was far away. There were no human sounds, none, not one for the whole two hours I spent here just soaking in the peace of a hot summer day in a remote place.


Visit Nearby Painted Hills, part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Back to Central Oregon Main Page

Back to John Day River Country Page

Back to Forest Fire Lookouts Main Page


Back to OregonPhotos Main page


Page last revised 05/06/2024