Backpack Wallowa River Loop

Rate this Adventure Oregon Wallowa Lake Trailhead

Added by

This amazing backpacking trip takes you through some of the most scenic and breathtaking places in the Wallowa Mountains, including the very popular Lakes Basin Management Area (with Ice Lake and Matterhorn Side Trip).

This trip begins at the Wallowa Lake Trailhead at the south end of the lake. Permits are free and self-issued at the trailhead. Parking is also free!

Follow the West Fork Wallowa Trail (#1820) for 3.1 miles until you reach Ice Lake Trail (#1808). Take a right on 1808 if you want to do the Ice Lake and Matterhorn side trip. If not, continue on 1820 for 3.3 miles until you reach the junction with the Lakes Basin Trail (#1810). Take a right on 1810 and continue 3 miles to Horseshoe Lake, then another 1.6 miles to Lee Lake. After these lakes, continue to the junction with the Moccasin Lake Trail (#1810A) and take 1810A to Moccasin Lake. From the lake, continue to the junction with the Glacier Lake Trail (#1806). Note: Lee Lake to the 1806 junction is about 1.8 miles.

Continue on 1806 for 2.8 miles until you reach Glacier Pass/Glacier Lake. Descend through the valley another 2.2 miles until you reach Frazier Lake and the junction with 1820. Take 1820 towards Polaris Pass/Polaris Trail (#1831), about 2 miles away. Be careful not to miss the turn off (which will be on the right) for 1831. Switchback up to Polaris Pass, then descend to the junction with East Fork Wallowa Trail (#1804) for a total of 7.5 miles. Continue on 1804 for about 2.4 miles until you reach Aneroid Lake. From Aneroid Lake, continue on 1804 for 6.3 miles until you reach the Wallowa Lake Trailhead.

My Itinerary:
  • Day 1: Wallowa Lake Trailhead to Ice Lake (8.2 miles)
  • Day 2: Ice Lake to Matterhorn summit, then back down to Ice Lake/West Fork Wallowa junction (10.1 miles)
  • Day 3: Ice Lake/West Fork Wallowa junction to Moccasin Lake (9.7 miles)
  • Day 4: Moccasin Lake to Frazier Lake (5 miles)
  • Day 5: Frazier Lake to Aneroid Lake (11.9 miles)
  • Day 6: Aneroid Lake to Wallowa Lake Trailhead (6.3 miles)

For more info, check out Backpacking Oregon by Douglas Lorain (contains a more detailed description of this trip, but the loop is described in reverse) as well as the Eagle Cap Wilderness map by Imus Geographics (terrible map, but pretty much the only one until Green Trails completes their version).

Pack List

  • Ten essentials
  • Backpack (50-70 liters)
  • Tent (at least 3 season)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Hiking boots or trail shoes
  • Camp shoes/sandals
  • Appropriate clothing, including extra layers
  • Water bottle and/or hydration bladder
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, biodegradable soap, hand sanitizer, etc.)
  • Trowel
  • Food and snacks
  • Trekking poles (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Pen/pencil and paper for journaling (optional)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

51 Miles

Elev. Gain:

11400 Feet

Features:

Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to Seldom Falls

Oregon / Seldom Falls

Every spring when mountain snow begins to thaw, the great meadow at Lake of the Woods fills with water.

Chaz Shand
6 Saves

Explore the Portland Japanese Garden

Oregon / Portland Japanese Garden

While the Portland Japanese Garden is a popular place for tourists, it's also a favorite for Portland residents as it's located right in Washington Park close to trails and across from the Rose Garde.

Sarah Horn
55 Saves

Run the Saltzman Road Trail

Oregon / Lower Saltzman Road Trailhead

This trail is an easy out and back from either the west or east side of Forest Park. The east trailhead is off NW Skyline Blvd, on Saltzman Road, which is a dirt/gravel road like the trail.

Sarah Horn
5 Saves