If you happen to be in town any other week of the year, there are still a few things worth doing. This is the hometown of Pendleton Woolen Mills, 1307 SE Court Place (tel. 541/276-6911; www.pendleton-usa.com), the famed manufacturer of Native American-inspired blankets and classic wool sportswear. At the mill here in Pendleton, the raw wool is turned into yarn and then woven into fabric before being shipped off to other factories to be made into clothing. Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 9 and 11am and 1:30 and 3pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 1:30pm. Also at the mill is a salesroom that's open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm and Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
At one time, there were supposedly 10 miles of underground passages and rooms beneath the streets of Pendleton, where gamblers, drinkers, and Chinese laborers rubbed shoulders. Over the years, these spaces were home to speakeasies and saloons, opium dens, and the living quarters of Chinese laborers who were forbidden to be above ground after dark. On 90-minute walking tours operated by Pendleton Underground Tours, 37 SW Emigrant Ave. (tel. 800/226-6398; www.pendletonundergroundtours.org), you can learn all about old Pendleton's shady underside. After exploring the underground, you'll visit a former bordello, whose rooms have been decorated much the way they once might have looked. Between March and October, tours are offered Monday through Saturday from 9:30am to 3pm; call for a schedule in other months. Tickets are $15. Reservations are strongly recommended.
At the Umatilla County Historical Society's Heritage Station Museum, 108 SW Frazer Ave. (tel. 541/276-0012; www.heritagestationmuseum.org), you can learn about the region's more respectable history. The museum is partly housed in the city's 1909 railway depot and contains changing exhibits that focus on regional history, including the Oregon Trail, Pendleton Woolen Mills, and Native American culture. This little museum is well worth a visit, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm; admission is $6 for adults and $2 for children.
If you're looking for glimpses of the Oregon Trail, head 20 miles west of Pendleton to the town of Echo, where you can see wagon ruts left by early pioneers. There's an interpretive exhibit in town at Fort Henrietta Park on Main Street, and a mile of ruts can also be seen about 5 1/2 miles west of town north of Ore. 320.
The Pendleton Round-Up -- The Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Pageant, held the second week of September each year, is one of the biggest rodeos in the country and has been held since 1910. In addition to daily rodeo events, there's a nightly pageant that presents a history of Native American and pioneer relations in the area. After the pageant, live country and western music gets things hopping in the Happy Canyon Dance Hall; a country-music concert and a parade round out the events. The Hall of Fame, 1114 SW Court Ave., holds a collection of cowboy and Indian memorabilia. The city is packed to overflowing during round-up week, so if you plan to attend, reserve early. Tickets sell for $15 to $20, and some types of tickets sell out a year in advance. For more information, contact the Pendleton Round-Up Association, 1114 SW Court Ave. (P.O. Box 609), Pendleton, OR 97801 (tel. 800/457-6336 or 541/276-2553; www.pendletonroundup.com).
East of Town -- East of Pendleton, at exit 216 off I-84, you'll find a complex of attractions operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Included here is the Wildhorse Casino Resort, 72777 Ore. 331 (tel. 800/654-WILD ; www.wildhorseresort.com), a golf course, a motel, an RV park, and the following museum.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.