Today on the Land Use Trail: Baker City

As fall sets in, we’re still visiting stops on our Land Use Trail. Today, October 15: Baker City. Founded in 1864, this stop reminds us why past generations came to out to Oregon in the first place: access to abundant natural resources, productive soil, and gorgeous landscapes.

About: Baker City was founded in 1864 and owes much of its early existence to the gold rush of 1862. The city is rich in history from its colorful mining roots to its turn of the century elegant character. The town, as we know it today, is home to one of many Oregonians’ favorite Main Streets, home to the famous Geiser Grand Hotel and the celebrated Barley Brown’s brewpub. The city sits along the Powder River on the edge of the productive Baker Valley. 

Key Fact: Baker City once had a flourishing Chinese population, with a major influence on town culture. By 1903, Baker City’s Chinatown had up to 50 structures and establishments. Throughout the century, Chinese presence and influence diminished. The last of Chinatown was demolished in the 1970’s. Here's an interesting article with more information.

Another Cool Fact: Baker City has consistently been voted among America’s best small towns in Rand McNally’s “Best of the Road” contest.


  • Stay at the historic Geiser Grand Hotel. 
  • Historic Baker City is the downtown's revitalization organization, a good place find out more about businesses and attractions in town.
  • Want to see what’s around Baker City? Check out Base Camp Baker. 
  • Cyclists: Plan a scenic bike trip on the Grande Tour, a gorgeous 130-mile ride from La Grande to Baker City and back.

Learn More:

Going to Baker City? Share your photos with us! We'll pass them on.

See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

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Text by Nathen Lamb, Communications Intern. Photo of downtown Baker City by Baker County Tourism, via Flickr. Creative Commons.