Imnaha is an unincorporated community in Oregon USA, 30 miles northeast of Joseph where the Imnaha River and Little Sheep Creek meet. About a dozen people live ‘at the bridge’ (in the town proper), but counting the surrounding farm families the Imnaha Post Office delivers mail to 80 households or 175 people in all. Imnaha River is a stream that flows from the Wallowa Mountains the to Snake River through one of the deepest river gorges on the continent. The word was used by William Clark on a map issued with the original Lewis and Clark journals in 1814, in the form Innahar. As far as is known, Capt. Benjamin Bonneville was the first non-Indian to go into the Imnaha country. He was in the vicinity of Imnaha River in January and February 1834. It attracts few newcomers due to its isolation, rugged terrain and intense summer heat. Steeped in history, this area was once home to the Nez Perce Indians before they were illegally driven out, and then later, white settlers. At the turn of the 19th century, Imnaha was a thriving community with a store, saloon, hotel, blacksmith shop, and – according to a 1900 census – 182 residents. The historic Imnaha Store and Tavern, owned and operated by Dave and Sally Tanzey, serves food, beer, information and grocery staples to locals and visitors The store’s phone number is 541.577.3111.
Imnaha is also home to a two-room elementary school and the Imnaha Christian Fellowship Church – built by the community in 1991 on land donated by A.L. Duckett, a three unit motel and a bed and breakfast five miles away on Lower Imnaha Road. It is a popular destination for fishermen and hunters and because of the relatively low elevation of 1,978 feet above sea level it is locally known as Wallowa County’s garden spot or “banana belt”. It’s also the starting point for a very scenic 24 mile drive south up to Hat Point Lookout (elevation 7,000 ft), where visitors can look down at Snake River 5,750 below. A long and rough 27-mile drive north from Imnaha to Dug Bar, provides the only vehicle access to the Snake River and Hells Canyon from Wallowa County, and is a popular drop off point for Hells Canyon floaters and hikers. Twenty four miles upriver is the Imnaha River Woods Development, a mixture of residential and camp properties.