In late April to mid May, depending on how wet or dry winter has been, the wildflowers along the Snake River downriver from Oxbow, are stunning. Travel east on Hwy 86 to Oxbow. Do not cross the river. Rather travel north (down river) to where the gravel road ends at the Copper Creek BLM campground. I have made this trip annually since 2014, with the Scouts of Troop 514, with Meg, with Wallowa Llamas, Bob Carter, and alone. It is always exhilarating and renewing.
So, from the campground, you hike along the river. In approximately two miles, you reach McGraw Creek. Crossing McGraw requires either a change to water shoes or a willingness to hike in wet boots afterwards
In another mile, you reach a low bench where the river level trail ends at Spring creek. However, if you have time and energy, follow the trail westward, up to a distant canyon bench. The trail splits in about half a mile. Take the left hand fork. Depending on the seasonal rains, and if you are lucky, you will traverse through many pockets of wildflowers–yellow balsam root, red Indian paintbrush, and purple lupine, as well as pink phlox. At the bench, you will find excellent views in all directions, and many good places to picnic.
Another option is to book a a three trip with Wallowa Llamas, led by Raz Rasmussen out of Halfway, Oregon. Raz is an excellent guide, the food is wonderful, you see unique places, and you don’t have to carry much weight. Meg and I very much enjoyed a trip with him the year after we had done the day hike up to the high bench.
A cautionary note: there is lots of poison ivy; keep your eyes open. Also there are rattlesnakes. I have not seen one in the early season, but be prepared.