Ice Lake Trail

MODERATE 58 reviews
#1 of 14 trails in

Ice Lake Trail is a 12.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Joseph, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. 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.

DISTANCE
12.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,330 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

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.

11 days ago

Absolutely AMAZING! Worth the hike up. Got eaten alive by mosquitoes no matter what we did, but would totally do it again. The view is worth it.

backpacking
21 days ago

Gorgeous hike, the whole way. The lake is stunning, the color of the water unreal. Wildflowers everywhere. Didn’t want to leave. Mosquitoes are not playing games, but didn’t have any problem with them until ~6 pm.

hiking
22 days ago

We did the hike as an out and back. It was doable as a day hike but would have been a lot better to stay overnight and not be crunched for time. The views were amazing with lots of waterfalls and a beautiful lake view at the end as a reward.

25 days ago

We dayhiked on Saturday and left the trailhead around 9 am. We clocked it on GPS at 7.5 miles to the lake which took us around 3 hours to get to the top. There are breathtaking views all along the way, and it follows a gorgeous waterfall for the last couple miles. The lake was clear, full of fish and cold but swimmable. On the way back down we passed at least 10 small groups of backpackers heading up. This hike is for sure is the talk of the town and for good reason!

hiking
29 days ago

My friend and I hiked to Ice Lake from the trailhead in Wallowa Lake State Park on July 15. We had read conflicting reviews about the length and found that the sign at the trailhead does indeed say 9 miles to Ice Lake. My gps tracked us and said 6.6 miles to the lake and about 13.6 when we returned to the trailhead. The trail is very well maintained and has well-placed switchbacks that facilitate the 3200’ elevation gain without any steep or grueling sections, although some do cross a relatively narrow scree field. There are incredible views around every corner and intermittent tree cover for shade. The lake itself was utterly,breath-takingly beautiful! Cold but swimmable. I highly recommend this hike!

29 days ago

According to Forest Service the trail is about 9m each way. We go in July when there is no snow on the trail. It takes about 6 hours to get up, maybe less getting down, with a 30m lunch break and a few rests.
It’s unreal up there.... absolutely amazing.

1 month ago

This is farther than All Trails states. When we approached the trailhead, the sign states 9 miles to Ice Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike was super tough. We originally planned to camp at Ice Lake. But when we got about a mile form the lake the trail seemed to go straight up and the weather got cold. There were rumors of rain/snow, so we decided to go back and not get stuck. The views were spectacular. This is a definite try again in better weather.

hiking
10 months ago

It recorded around 7.5mi one way and it kinda felt like more than that...probably because of the elevation gain. Had to break the trail off on the last 3mi or so due to snow-seemed like it was 5in tall. Started late so had to camp out 4.3mi into the trail. Amazing view at the end, although it’s very windy. You can see the Matterhorn peak; will definitely go back here to summit Matterhorn and Sacagawea peaks!

10 months ago

I hiked to Ice Lake last July. This is an amazing place, one of my favorite hikes.

hiking
10 months ago

We hiked this trail on Saturday 9/23. It was a gorgeous hike but beware of snow the last 1-2 miles up to the lake. We were probably up to our knees the last mile or so and had been first on the trail to pack it down so it was slow going. Other than that, the trail was in great condition and I would definitely hike this again and hopefully remember to bring my gators this time ;)

11 months ago

Beautiful lake and hike. We did it in one day, including going up to Matterhorn peak after having lunch at the lake. Would have been better to camp the night instead of doing that all in one shot. Very challenging, especially from the lake to Matterhorn. We started at 8:30 am and got back to the car at 6:30 pm. We kept a pretty fast pace to beat sundown. Definitely go up to Matterhorn, I suggest walking sticks though! The view is absolutely amazing. Be sure to follow the cairns to get to the peak.

backpacking
11 months ago

Trail was a bit harder than we thought it would be, but not impossible. Beautiful lake. Lots of people backpacking over labor day, but still plenty of spots when we got up there late. Planned on summiting Matterhorn, but didn't get to it. I'll be back ice lake.

backpacking
11 months ago

My dog and I hiked in starting around 1pm on the Friday before Labor Day. The trail was well-marked with several opportunities for water along the way. Lots of flowers and nice views. The route was steep but the timing kept me out of the sun during the steepest bit. When we arrived, I opted to walk down the trail to my right to the far side of the lake and, to my surprise, had the place all to myself. (Good timing as I passed hordes of backpackers on the trail during my descent the next day). There are some nice campsites in the trees with a short walk to the lake for a chilly dip in the water.

hiking
11 months ago

I camped overnight at Ice Lake in July 2017. This place is absolutely gorgeous. The view of the Matterhorn from Ice Lake is breathtaking. This is one of my favorite hikes and I would love to do it in the winter.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Did this as a day hike, took about 6 hours round trip. ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!

backpacking
Friday, July 21, 2017

Great trip; highly recommend!

I had trouble beforehand finding current maps that showed the route up to Matterhorn so recorded the entire there/back trip. As an FYI: if you use my recording, know that there were snow fields that covered the trail to Matterhorn summit so we went off trail a few times between ice lake and Matterhorn. Our return route (i.e. From Matterhorn back to ice lake) is closer to the suggested trail and definitely recommended over the route we took going up.

backpacking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

Beautiful trip. We hiked to the lake and used it as a base camp to access a couple nearby peaks. Despite the elevation gain the trail never felt steep or particularly difficult. There is a lot of exposure to the sun, so get it done early if you're afraid of the heat. Bugs were an annoyance in camp, but the views and seclusion were totally worth it.

backpacking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

This is a wonderful trail and is snow free. The bugs were especially bad at the campsites to the right of the trail when you are headed in. Crossing the Lake's outlet seemed like the better option for camping, so that you catch the breeze off of the lake. Also, leave enough time to explore around the lake. It's bigger than it looks and there are a bunch of cool areas to explore.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Excellent trail with a consistent elevation climb.

camping
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

one of my all time favorite trails to hike into and camp over night!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

amazing!!!

hiking
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

This is a great hike with some amazing views. The trail has a few rocky areas and the switchbacks are moderate. Most of the trail you are next to rushing water or can hear it, after crossing the log bridge you start up the east side of the mountain and the views of water falls, wildflowers and overlooks are breathtaking.

hiking
Saturday, July 11, 2015

It was beautiful but I got eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Monday, July 06, 2015

really nice hike. it is a good place to camp for the night so you can climb up to Sacajawea peak, the tallest peak in the eagle cap wilderness area. The lake is very cold, and there are still lots of bugs! BRING BUG SPRAY.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Hiked this trail in a day and only took 7 hours round trip. Lots of bugs around lake itself

hiking
Sunday, August 19, 2012

Great hike- long for a day hike but it can be done. There is a log to cross the river, right now.

hiking
Monday, July 16, 2012

Would get a 5 star if not for two little problems, A tons of mosquitoes!!! B. No campfires allowed, I understand it is a very sensitive area and it gets hit pretty hard and needs to recover. But if you plan ahead those two things are non issues really. Words cannot describe the views! Plenty of creeks and water sources along the trail. FYI the bridge is out where you cross the Wallowa river but there is a large tree you can cross with ease. I say no crowds, but we did see 4 other people there, but we spread out so it was fine.

hiking
Sunday, November 21, 2010

I don't really want to say too much about the area. Its one of those places you just need to see for yourself. One negative about this hike was the amount of mosquitoes. No exaggeration, the most I've seen on a hike. We're talking clouds here. One plus was that they only came out in the evenings but they were really bad. So bring some good bug spray and maybe some citronella candles.

hiking
12 days ago

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