• SUMPTER

Fans of the reality show “Ghost Mine” are flocking to Sumpter to soak up the ambience of the former mining hub. The town is just across the Grant County’s eastern border in Baker County.

The TV show was shot in and around the town, which boomed with gold mining and dredging from the late 1800s into the early 1900s.

Today, the town has about 190 residents and draws visitors to hunt, fish, ride snowmobiles and ATVS, and pan for gold. It is noted for huge flea markets held on three major holiday weekends: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

Highlights include the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area, which features trails, wetlands, and historic information. The centerpiece is the old Sumpter Valley Dredge. According to Oregon State Parks, the 1,240-ton dredge extracted some $4.5 million in gold. It plied the Powder River, navigating in a pond of its own creation in the quest for gold, and operated 24 hours a day, year-round at the height of the gold era.

Also in the area, the historic Sumpter Valley Railroad is Oregon’s only narrow-gauge heritage railroad. The volunteer owned and operated railway offers tourist excursions and special events – including “train robberies” by the Gold Rush Bandits – throughout the summer season.

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