Oregon begins at Ontario. Located on the eastern edge of Oregon, midway between Salt Lake City and Portland, it is the largest city in Malheur County. Ontario is also in the area known as Oregon's Western Treasure Valley. This land has spacious, rugged areas, as well as prime agricultural growing land. Ontario grows onions, russet potatoes, sugar beets, peppermint, and much of the world's zinnia seeds. South of Ontario along Highway 201, the summer zinnia flowers paint the prairies in bright colors.
Ontario is close to the Leslie Gulch-Succor Creek National Back Country Byway. This byway allows you to view some of the most rugged and spectacular countryside in eastern Oregon. There are many striking geologic formations, such as vertical towers, pinnacles and deep gorges, as well as the vibrant colors of pinks, oranges, purples and reds painted across the sandstone cliffs. You'll want to bring plenty of film when you take this scenic drive.
There are several festivals in the area, such as Ontario's Japanese Obon Festival, the Mexican Cinco De Mayo, and Thunderegg Days at Nyssa. Rockhounding is a favorite pasttime, and you may even find Oregon's state rock, the thunderegg. Thundereggs are oblong rocks that look rough on the outside, but many contain beautiful crystal formations or mineral patterns inside when cut open. Some of the other rocks found here are jasper, petrified wood, agate, obsidian and sunstone, Oregon's state gem.
The Four Rivers Cultural Center, in the heart of Ontario, is named for the four rivers that converge in the western Treasure Valley. The museum at the Center features information about the diverse cultural heritage of the settlers of the Ontario area. These include people of Basque, European, Hispanic, Japanese and American Indian ancestry. The center also includes a theater, conference center, cafe and gift shop.
Visit where the Oregon Trail crosses the Snake River into what would become Oregon. Walk by the wagon wheel ruts, and experience a part of Oregon's history. Ontario reflects the pioneer spirit of those days, and can share it with you.