The Wallowa Lake Trailhead at the south end of Wallowa Lake provides a gateway into Oregon's Largest Wilderness, The Eagle Cap. If you thought this area was beautiful from the outside, entering the wilderness will simply blow you away! The Eagle Cap is a real National Treasure yet still affords unparallelled peace and quiet, a rare quality in today's world.

Iwetemlaykin Trail

Iwetemlaykin Trail

Entire trail is less than 1 mile in length

Average Difficulty- Easy, Short Hike

Starts at OR State Park parking lot- 1 Mile out of Joseph heading towards Wallowa Lake.

The Iwetemlaykin, pronounced ee-weh-TEMM-lye-kin, is a nice trail easy for anyone of all ages. It is a short dirt trail with gravel in some areas for easy walking. This trail is about 30-45 min in length, depending on weather and speed.

There is a higher grade to climb at the beginning of the trail, but then it evens out into a slight up and down walk.

The Eagle Cap Wilderness can be seen in the distance as you walk these beautiful hills. Wild flowers bloom in the spring and early summer, giving a pretty setting to your hike, as well as animals of all shapes and sizes that can appear out of no where. As you walk or run along the trail you will come to Knights Pond, which will take you all the way around in a circle. You will walk among the open hills on one side of the pond, and then large trees on the other. There is also a small stream called Silver Lake Ditch, giving you a change to rest or dip your toes into the cool water.

If you are needing a quick break, they offer benches to rest upon which are placed randomly around the trail for those young children or elderly. If you sit quietly, you may see deer, a fox or two, bear, elk and other little critters that play in the area.

The end of this trail has a steady climb to it before it goes back down to the main road, coming out next to the Chief Joseph Gravesite where you can stop and pay your respects. Want to keep going? Walk right on down to the Wallowa Lake beach were you can take a dip in the pristine water, rent paddle boards, or just lay out in the sun while the kids play.

Chief Joseph Trail To BC Falls

Chief Joseph Trail To BC Falls

This hike is a perfect short hike with a nice view of Wallowa Lake and a nice waterfall. Start hiking on the West Fork of the Wallowa River Trail. At the 1/2 mile point you will see a sign on the right for the Chief Joseph Trail. Follow this sign to the right and it will drop down to the Wallowa River. At the Wallowa River bridge the trail will start climbing with three switchbacks. After the switchbacks the trail will traverse along the base of Chief Joseph Mountain and shortly it will come to a nice view of the Wallowa Valley and Wallowa Lake.

At the 1 1/4 mile point the trail will come to BC Falls and a nice place to turnaround. When there was a bridge crossing BC Creek this trail could be used to go up to the base of Chief Joseph Mountain. If you do decide to cross BC Creek you will find that the trail is no longer maintained past the falls. You will find downed trees but very few people tracks. Cross BC Creek at your own risk.

This trail can be used to connect to the Chief Joseph Marina trail which leads to the Wallowa Lake Marina and the Wallowa lake State Park. The Chief Joseph Marina trail is described on this Wallowa Lake Resort (Click Here).

The Wallow Lake Resort Resort office is happy to provide free maps for this fun little trail.

Hurricane Creek to Slick Rock

Hurricane Creek to Slick Rock

6 Miles Round Trip – Average Difficulty
Starts at the end of Hurricane Creek Road

This is one of my favorite trails in the Wallowa wilderness area. It has nice waterfalls, nice views and many alternatives for exploration. It is less than 10 miles from the Wallowa Lake Resort Office.

The trail starts at first by working its way through the forest. At ½ mile there is a side trip on the right with a sign that says "Falls Creek". This side trail goes ½ mile off the main trail and leads to a 100 foot waterfall. After the waterfall this trail continues to Legore Lake, the Sawtooth Ridge and Twin Peaks. If you decide not to take the steep trail to Legore Lake just come back to the main trail, after viewing the waterfall.

Shortly after Falls Creek turn off you will come to the crossing at Falls Creek. In low water this is an easy crossing. Otherwise look for a log to cross or wade it. The trail works its way up through the trees again providing nice views of the stream below. At 2 miles the trail will open up into a large meadow with views of the Hurricane Divide, the back of Joseph Mountain, and the face of Sacagawea Peak. In this meadow look for the waterfall that comes out of a basin to the right. This waterfall or the polished rock above the falls makes a nice side trip.

After crossing the open meadow the trail will enter forest again. Soon you will notice trails that go off to the left. These trails lead to nice camp sites along the Hurricane. The last trail on the left leads to a large camp site and the trail that leads up the Thorp Creek Basin. This is another great side trip since it leads to a large basin at the face of Sacagawea. There are several great camp sites in this basin and opportunities to view mountain goats which are very common. If you decide not to journey up Thorp Creek Basin, continue up the Hurricane Trail.

At 3 miles the trail will enter an avalanche area. The trail does three switchbacks up a side slope crossing downed trees and debris. The avalanche occurred during the winter of 2009. It came down Slick Rock Gorge filling the valley that you see to the left. The flow filled the gorge and went up the other side of the stream. Note the trees pushed over on the other side of the gorge. We hiked this May 2009 and the entire gorge was filled with debris. Though longtime local tell me this is a very common avalanche area. After taking the switchbacks and climbing over a few trees you cross a side hill with view of the gorge below. BE CAREFUL A SLIP HERE COULD BE FATAL.

Soon you will arrive at a location with a waterfall above you and the gorge below you. This is where most people have a nice lunch and turn around and go back as they came. Other options include climbing up the ridge to the right of Slick Rock Falls or continuing on to the Echo Lake Turn off.

See Wallowa Whitman Forest Service Information

Chief Joseph Marina Trail

Chief Joseph Marina Trail

3 Miles Round Trip – Marina to Joseph Meadow and Back
Strenuous, Elevation Gain 2000+ Feet
Starts behind the fish cleaning station at the Wallowa Lake Marina Parking Lot

This hike starts on a trail 200 feet to the left of the fish cleaning station at the Wallowa Lake State Park. Start walking south on a well used foot trail ends at the Wallowa Lake Start Park outdoor theater. Unless you want to listen to a story about Smokey the Bear you will want to leave this trail after 200 yards and start going up the Joseph Mountain Trail. It can be difficult to find the fork to the right. Three things to look for in finding this trail: 1) it forks off the main trail just before a small stream, 2) you know you are on the correct trail since you will find an old wooden water pipe (3 inch) running up it, 3) this trail goes up through tall grass and brush for the first 100 yards. This is a steep trail... if you are not going up you are not on the correct trail.

The Joseph Trail is divided into 3 stages (Stage 1 is ½ mile, Stage 2 is ¾ of a mile, Stage 3 is ¼ of a mile). The first stage is steep as it works its way up through the brush and thick trees before traversing an open hillside with large ponderosa pines. It finally crosses the Old Chief Joseph Trail. After this stage you can head left (or south) on the Old Joseph Trail reaching BC Falls in 1 ½ miles. This section of trail is not maintained.

We will instead cross the Old Chief Joseph Trail and continue to climb the Joseph Mountain Trail. This trail just goes UP and UP. We are now on stage 2 and it is steeper and longer than stage 1. The trail goes in and out of the trees before reaching open areas that provide views to the south. At the top of stage 2 there will be nice views of the Joseph ridge and nice views of Mount Howard, East Peak and Aneroid Mountain. Finally, at the end of Stage 2 you will cross the Old Joseph Trail. You are now at a base of a clearing where you will continue to climb with the face of Joseph Mountain to the left.

Stage 3 switchbacks up a mountain meadow and ends in a small forest with plenty of places to get out of the weather while resting and enjoying the views. This is generally where most people turnaround. Other options include climbing another 600 feet to the top of the meadow, climbing to the top of a knoll reaching 7600 feet or climbing Joseph Mountain. The picture to the left illustrates the route to the top of the knoll or "baby Joseph".

If you take this trail in the winter with snow shoes, it is difficult. It can also be very icy so crampons can be helpful. There is no water available on this trail so bring all you need.

West Fork Wallowa River

West Fork Wallowa River

West Fork Wallowa River to Ice Lake Turnoff
8 Miles Round Trip – West Fork Trailhead to Ice Lake Turnoff and Back
Average Difficulty - Long Day Hike
Starts at the End of Power House Road

The West Fork trail is a nice valley walk with views of Joseph, views of the Wallowa River and peaks around Ice Lake. The trip ends at a nice rock out cropping on the Ice Lake Trail.

During the first mile you will walk through the forest. At 1 mile you will come to a side trail on the right. This is the Joseph Mountain Trail and leads to BC Falls, which is a nice side trip for waterfall junkies.

After the Joseph Mountain Trail you will work your up through more trees. At 2 miles the trail provides views of Joseph Mountain and the river below. Amazingly fish live in the pools and waterfalls below you. They are small and generally very hungry. Look for the large rock slide on the left which you will walk by. Stand by the rock slide and feel the cool air that comes from under the rock slide in the summer.

At 3 miles the trail will open up and level out a bit. Almost every year this area receives an avalanche with the larger ones going across the Wallowa River. You can see the debris fields to the east of the trail. At 3.5 miles the trail arrives at the Ice Lake Turnoff. Take this turn off and go ½ mile down to the Wallowa River. This is a nice place for lunch. However, if you want to go just a little further.....

Travel ½ mile after crossing the Wallowa River and you will soon come to a large rock outcropping on the right of the trail. This is my favorite place for lunch since it is in sun and has nice views. If you have the energy, travel 3 miles up to Ice Lake.

If you have decided to travel up to Ice Lake get ready for switchback mania. The first set goes up to the right of Johnson Creek and ends in a hanging value with a nice waterfall view. You are at the 6 mile point and still have a long series of switchbacks to overcome. Look for Mountain goats to the right since they are common on the Hurwal Divide.

After the hanging valley you will notice that the trail works through a series of switchbacks. It is not too bad since there are nice views as you climb. When it seems the switchbacks will never end, the trail levels out and Ice Lake appears in front of you. Soak your feet in the Ice Lake Outlet or jump in before you head back.

East Fork Wallowa River

East Fork Wallowa River

13 Miles Round Trip Aneroid Lake and Back
Moderate Difficulty
Starts at the End of Power House Road

This hike is a bit dusty and not very nice for about 3 miles. The trail works its way up on the right of the East Fork seemingly forever. It gets heavy horse traffic during the summer for the first 2 miles, so it can be dusty and smelly. If you want to avoid this section of the trail take the PPL maintenance road which takes a fork to the left at the ¼ mile point. By taking this fork you avoid the dusty horse trail and shorten your hike by about ½ of a mile. This maintenance road is steeper than the trail though it has nice berry eating in the fall. This short cut crosses a bridge at the ½ mile point then proceeds on the left side of the east fork. At 1 ½ miles it crosses a bridge and re-enters the main trail exactly where most of the horse traffic turns around.

Regardless, if you took the PPL maintenance road or the main trail at 2-2 ½ miles you come to the dam that is used to power the PPL Electric generating station. This is a nice place for a break or a foot soaking. There is a very nice bench on the trail side of the little pond above the dam. After the dam this trail opens up with nice views of the ridge of East Peak, Hidden Peak and finally Aneroid Mountain. It is hard to believe that Aneroid Peak is taller than Joseph Mountain at 9700 feet.

At 4 miles you will come into a large meadow where the meandering East Fork creates nice pools. A bit further at 5 miles is Roger Lake which is not nearly as scenic as Aneroid Lake. Just 1 more mile and you will see the deep blue of Aneroid Lake. Once reaching Aneroid you will find plenty of camp sites with nice mountain and lake views. The fishing can be very good at Aneroid Lake. Day hikes from this location include Tender Foot Pass, Dollar Pass, Dollar Lake, Boney Lakes and climbing Aneroid Mountain. One interesting option is to have someone leave a car at the Tender Foot Trailhead and hike out this trail over Dollar Pass. If you hike the Tender Foot Trail look for large elk herds that frequent the Big Sheep drainage.

Aneroid Lake Wikipedia
Aneroid Lake Panaramos

Area Hiking Guide

Visit the link below for comprehensive information on hiking around Wallowa Lake, including driving instructions, maps and photos.