This Old West Underground Tour Is The Perfect Summer Adventure In Oregon

by | May 10, 2024 | Adventures

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Every Oregonian has likely heard of the famous Pendleton Roundup, but many don't realize that there's something special hiding under the buildings and sidewalks of Pendleton, Oregon. Pendleton used to be known as the entertainment capital of Eastern Oregon, and with thirty two bars and eighteen brothels, it's easy to see why this was a hot spot of the old west. If you're looking for a bit of old west adventure this summer, or want to learn more about Pendleton's storied past, then it's time to plan your trip to Pendleton for an underground tour.

World Famous Pendleton Underground Tour In Pendleton, Oregon

An underground tour sign.
Photo by Tracie Smith via Google Local.

Pendleton has always been a place where history is told, cultures are kept, and legends live on, but never more so than with the underground tour. This tour draws people in from all over the world, both for the history lesson and the excitement of being led underground and through old tunnels to jails, illegal gambling rooms, and opium dens.

An old room with wooden floors, rails and walls with wooden chairs under ground.
Photo by Nancy Forrest via Google Local.

You'll start your tour in the Shamrock Card Room, then head to Hop Sing's Chinese Laundry. A guide will lead you on this tour while teaching you all about the history of the places you're visiting and telling you interesting facts.

From there you'll visit the Empire Ice Cream Parlor, and head through the tunnels beneath the sidewalks to Empire Meat Market.

A room on the underground tour. There's an old cooking stove.
Photo by Jacqueline Van Der Eng via Google Local.

You'll also discover a secret passageway to a prohibition era card room.

Mannequins play cards at a round card table in an under ground room.
Photo by Sid Morgan via Google Local.

Follow tunnels to a Duck Pin Bowling Alley, and then head upstairs to one of 18 bordellos (brothel's) that were located in Pendleton where you'll learn about Stella Darby and other working girls.

Rows of old bunk beds on the under ground tour.
Photo by Hugo Torres Moreno via Google Local.

Other things you'll see on the tour are Chinese living quarters, the jail, and the opium den. You'll also learn about why the Chinese came to Pendleton, and their role in building the west.

WR Ep181 The Pendleton Underground_26 from kevin holten on Vimeo.

Each historical underground tour lasts approximately 90 minutes, and you'll leave feeling a sense of awe at how people once lived in this wild west town. After you're done with your tour, you might wonder what else Pendleton has to offer, or want to grab a bite to eat. Check out our full Guide To Pendleton here to see all the cool things there are to do in Pendleton.

Pendleton Underground Tour Information

A long narrow tunnel with wooden walls and a wooden ceiling on the under ground tour.
Photo by Leighanna Wachta via Google Local.

What's the cost of the Pendleton Underground Tour? The cost is $15 for kids ages 6-12, and $20 for ages 12 and up. No children under the age of six are allowed on the tour.

Do I need a reservation to go on the tour? Yes, reservations are required. There's no booking online. To get a reservation, call 541-276-0730 and leave a message if no one answers. Office hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM. Call for daily tour times as they vary day to day.

Tip: A minimum of four people are needed to open a tour, so consider bringing along friends and family. If just one person makes a reservation, there's a chance the tour could get cancelled that day if a minimum of four people doesn't sign up.

A long brick tunnel under ground.
Photo by Pendleton Underground Tours via Google Local.

Please note: There are no restrooms on the tour, and no video or audio recordings are allowed.

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Written By Jessica Tomlinson

Jessica Tomlinson is a native Oregonian currently living in Southern Oregon. She has been blogging since 2006. She loves nature, photography, hiking, camping, and exploring Oregon's wilds.

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