Ice Lake Trail is a 16 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Joseph, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length16.0 miElevation gain3,530 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingFishingHikingNature tripsForestLakeRiverViewsWaterfallwild-flowersWildlifeBugsRocky
Description
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

Trailhead starts at the large parking lot at the Wallowa Lake Trailhead. Follow route 351 around the east side of Wallowa Lake and follow the signs to the Trailhead. Fill out a wilderness permit (no fee) and follow the trail at the end of the parking lot. Take trail West Fork Wallowa River trail #1820. About 2 1/2 miles you'll reach West Fork Wallowa-Ice Lake Trail junction. Hang a right onto the Ice Lake Trail #1808 and follow it the rest of the way up. Most of the altitude gain is in these last 5 miles. Once there, most of the campsites are on the left hand side as you walk up to the lake. So cross the creek on your left and head on around the lake.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (207)
Photos (406)
Recordings (171)
Completed (385)
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Dan Schaefer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 6, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Backpacked 10/3/20-10/5/20! For an early October trip we majorly lucked out on weather. Each day we had a high of about 75 degrees at Ice Lake without a cloud in the sky. The lake has some nice scenery, but it wasn’t necessarily the prettiest mountain/alpine lake we’ve been to. As with any high mountain lake, we got our fair share of strong winds at night but that was to be expected. Our second day we tackled Matterhorn Peak. It was a climb but doable! There was no snow at the top and it was great. Views for miles! Part of the trail (last mile or so) was a little sketchy with steep, loose rock - so if you’re afraid of that then the trip to Matterhorn may not be for you. Overall we had a great trip and I’d recommend!

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Leslie Dikeman Snyder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
Hiking

Fantastic! Lives up to my expectations!

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Anthony Kauffman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2020
Hiking
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Chuck Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 12, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Did this hike 9-4-2020. It was amazing. Loved it. The lake was so pretty. Swimming when we got there felt soooo good!

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Tyler Hollenbach
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2020
Hiking

Beautifully maintained trail. Top section above Ice Lake is STEEP

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Holistic David
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

for the seasoned hiker/backpacker/trail runner this will challenge you but it wont be too bad. For the novice this will zap you pretty quick. the trail is a steady incline from wallowa lake to the trail head but shortly after the river crossing you begin to gain altitude quickly. the majority of this trail is switchbacks. ice lake is beautiful and the brook trout proved to be good fishing. there were quite a few overnighters there with us but it was still very quite and we enjoyed quite a bit of isolation.

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Kevin Fillo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
Hiking

We found the trail last bed up to its billing. The final stretch through the multiple switchbacks in the rock falls were challenging. We loved it and at the end I took a dip in Ice Lake and it lives up to its name - brisk and refreshing to be sure!

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Linda Lancaster
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Hiking
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justin prachar
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Hiking

Beginning was pretty chill. The second half of the hike, before the second switch back definitely gets harder. Be careful there are a good amount rocks in the path. Third switch back was fine, we were just pretty tuckered. out. Definitely plan to take breaks throughout. View was very nice at the top, you’ll get the best campsite the earlier you get there.

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Jacob Stapleton
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Hiking
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RJay Moreno
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BackpackingGreat!No shadeRocky

Great hike! Easy until you cross the river and make your first ascent up through switchbacks then it levels out once you reach a meadow. There’s a small creek there to fill up ok water before the final climb up to the lake. There’s more camping spots than you might think, just keep looking, there’s some good spots on the opposite side of the lake with a lot of shade. The climb up to the Matterhorn was hard. Bring trekking poles, no need to make it any harder than it already is. Some parts were very steep but it’s all worth it. It can be easy to lose the official trail once you get close to the summit, there are a lot of moderately used side trails but there’s no wrong way to get up there, just be safe. You’re completely exposed to the sun for a solid 2 hours of hiking, so dress appropriately and lotion up if that’s something you need. Saw a family of mountain goats on my way down and slipped like 6 times lol. Stayed the night and was surprised how windy it got, glad I tied everything down. Great trip, highly recommend it.

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Zach Nystrom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 3, 2020
CampingGreat!

Beautiful trail. Easy to follow and a consistent grade made it not too brutal of a climb. Lake is worth every mile for sure. Wasn’t too busy on a Thursday night. Only saw 4 other groups there and they were all small and respectful. Really loved this trip as a night and want to come back to climb Matterhorn for sure. Would rate 5 stars if it wasn’t for the copious amount of horse poo along the first 3 miles (basically until the Ice Lake turnoff). Always frustrating to have to smell and navigate that stuff.

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Sally Brennand
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2020
HikingGreat!

About 7.5 miles to Lake plus 2 mile circle of the lake made it a 17 mile day. Four hours up, two hours lunch and circle, then less than three hours down. Circling the lake lengthens the day but gives you a 360 view. It rivals WA’s Enchantments. Do what you can to avoid crowds. We started 7 am on a rainy Tuesday. We encountered 4 groups of backpackers leaving and about the same number on the trail up as we descended.

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Eric Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 24, 2020
HikingGreat!

Trail was great but quite crowded at the lake. We counted 27 groups with more arriving after we did. Get there early. Also had a bear go right past our tent at night. That was exciting!

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Archie Harris
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Hiking

Excellent trail

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Evvy Tirosh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2020

Hiked 7/2/20. Very gradual incline, well maintained trail, and gorgeous views the entire way. Wasn't able to camp at the lake as we were unprepared for snow camping, so we camped just a few miles down. Will return to complete this hike in a few weeks when the snow on the peaks has melted.

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David Ebel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
HikingGreat!

Amazing hike. Don’t underestimate the distance but well worth it when you hit the lake. Very well maintained trail.

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Samantha Hidden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

Did this as a day hike and was beautiful, but challenging. The switchbacks are gradual, but the length was pretty strenuous for one day. About 4 hrs up, 3.5 down. Would definitely recommend camping at the top of you can (and bring bug spray!)

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adam paulson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2020
HikingGreat!

did a down and back in one day took just over 4 hrs to get to the lake. trail is in good shape. decent altitude gain but the trail itself is mostly gradual sloped and nothing too steep

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Madeleine Stringer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
BackpackingRocky

My boyfriend and I backpacked up to ice lake for one night July 8-9. It was magical! It took us 6 hours to get the 8 miles up to the lake and just 3 hours to hike down then next day. The hike was a consistent but gradual incline the entire way up. There weren’t any super steep sections even with the switch backs at the end which was surprising! We had the whole lake to ourselves when we got up there and even caught 5 Brook trout for dinner! Definitely recommend getting a fishing license and bringing a telescoping fishing pole up there. Trail was free from snow the entire way up but there were still snow in the peaks surrounding the lake. We were unable to summit Matterhorn and Sacajawea peaks due to snow/ice. In another week or two that shouldn’t be a problem. Also there were minimal bugs on the trail we didn’t even need bug spray! Highly recommend backpacking over doing this as a day hike! It’s just too beautiful to leave without a day to soak it all in!

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Lauren Wozniak
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

We did this as a day hike. You get a lot of variety in scenery which keeps it interesting. The lake is still mostly frozen over but still very pretty. Horses use the first 2-3 miles which made the trail pretty dirty for a while. Since the elevation is spread over so many miles, it’s truly never feels too step just a consistent climb. Took us 9 hours with a lunch break at the lake and some snack breaks along the way.

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S Patson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 8, 2020
HikingMuddy

We again found the markings at the start of this trail lacking. Since we had some young kids were only did a five mile out and back. It was a great hike that has excellent river views in many places.

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Karlene Baskind
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
Backpacking

Absolutely gorgeous, breathtaking views! Hard to believe this is in OR, it looks more like Montana or Canada with the earth-bending vistas and rocky, jagged peaks. Definitely a solid climb all the way up but the views get better as you go so it is definitely worth the work. We hiked with poles for the first time & I cannot tell you how life changing of a decision that was! If you're on the fence about the poles - just go for it. I promise you won't regret it, esp for this hike. A ranger told us there was a snow storm that blew through just a few days before we got there, so there was a lot of snow around the lake, most of the lake was frozen (at least on the surface), and the hike from the lake to the summit was super snowy and slushy. It felt more like winter than summer, but gorgeous nonetheless and plenty of open spots around the lake to make camp for the night. We had very sunny days so shorts and t-shirts were the perfect choice for the hike. If you plan on staying at the top overnight, bring insulating layers because it got pretty chilly. Also - I have to mention it because no one else has - the first two miles of the trail is littered with horse poo. Horses trek to the river and back and it is quite messy. I wouldn't let it deter you, just brace yourself mentally so you're not caught off guard like we were! Surprising there aren't more regulations about that... Overall a super epic OR find, highly recommend!!!

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Steven Cen
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HikingIcySnow
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RJ Valdez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 26, 2020
HikingBugsRockyScrambleSnowWashed out

Just finished this hike. First off, really beautiful pristine land, never knew this existed up in NE Oregon! Hiked to Ice lake and stayed the night. There are some sections of the switchbacks part of the trail that are flooded with all the snowmelt but not terrible. Ice lake is not frozen but still has some ice on it, i would imagine in the next couple days it should be completely melted. The camping area also has a good amount of snow still but still plenty of spaces to camp. Summited day two and you definitely have to traverse a good amount of snow still but its do-able, i had trek poles and microspikes but could prob have done without the spikes. The last 1/3 mile is all melted to the summit so no issue there. Also trekked over to Sacajawea and it was clear all the way across, the gendarmes are sketchy in places. The Karst cave had a bunch of snow in it still and not able to even see into it. Saw at least 4 mountain goats!!

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