Ice Lake Trail

HARD 113 reviews

Ice Lake Trail is a 16 mile lightly 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.

Distance: 16.0 miles Elevation Gain: 3,530 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.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
snow
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

A beautiful hike with diverse terrain and views to experience along the way. I checked Rocky because there is a fairly short section that is.... well...Rocky. nothing major and not loose.

hiking
2 months ago

I was concerned about my ability to do an 18 mi hike, but decided to go for it with my husband. We don't have GPS but know how we hike . We think even though the sign says 9 mi, it's probably a little less than 8 mi each way. Talked to a guy on the trail who said his GPS going said 7.8 miles. We did it as a day hike with about 4 liters of fluids ea. Started early which was helpful with cooler temps. 3 hrs 45 minutes going. 3 hrs coming down. Coming down got tough due to heat. All worth it. Amazing views going and at the lake.

backpacking
3 months ago

Hiked in for a two night stay. I thought the trail was relatively easy but long. My 12 year old son hiked it like a champ. Lots of beautiful wild flowers. The lake is breathtaking. Found a great place to get the feet wet. Definitely take the bug spray.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

A well-graded but lengthy hike to a beautiful alpine lake in the high Wallowas. The trail climbs along the Wallowa River canyon, up wildflower-filled alpine meadows, and up ridges into the lake basin. The lake itself is incredibly spectacular - photos don’t do it justice. Mosquitos were fine down low but got pretty bad close to the lake basin and were pretty bad by the lake, except when the breeze picks up. As a day hike it’s pretty exhausting but rewarding.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! It’s rocky in some spots, but overall the trail is very well maintained. I would rate it as moderate in difficulty. If you don’t have a hiking buddy for this one I would suggest waiting at the trailhead until you see some other hikers heading up and try to stick with them as there are cougars in the area. Having bear spray is also a good idea. A lot of the trail is not shaded so definitely wear sunscreen and a hat. The views are definitely worth it!

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

backpacking
4 months ago

Backpacked up to Ice Lake from the Wallowa Lake Campground on Thursday. Incredible hike with wildflowers that were mindblowing. Groups of butterflies occupied almost every creek. It was stunning. Don't underestimate the impact of this solid uphill trek. Elevation and heat made this very difficult and requires a lot of rest breaks. Once you get to the lake, all is well and beautiful. No snow on lake but surrounds the campsites. LOTS of mosquitos that bite you through your clothes. We brought a Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller based on other reviews and we are so glad we did. It works!

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
over grown
rocky
4 months ago

Me and some family members hiked this today (7/6/19). The hike up to the lake is a tough one. Lots of switchbacks after you go over the one log bridge with the rail. Mostly shaded before that bridge and some of it is over grown a smidge, but after the bridge there's is shade sporadically, but it's there. Took us just over 4 hours to get to the top but we stopped a lot to take pictures and rest. Took 2 hours and 45 minutes to get back to the trailhead and we stopped 3 times for quick breathers. It's so beautiful up there and it was cooler up there for sure so bring a layer to put on. Wish I would've stayed the night to really enjoy the lake. It's tough but I highly recommend it and plan on doing it again!

backpacking
4 months ago

We hiked this in mid-September and while conditions were good, when we arrived at the lake at 8:30pm on a Friday, there were only 2 campsites left. It stayed busy the whole weekend with backpackers, day hikers, hunters and horseback riders. The lake was gorgeous but very very windy in spots. We camped over 30 nights last season and the first night at Ice Lake was the only one where I thought our tent might blow down (it didn’t). Like everyone else says, it’s about 9 miles each way. Lots of rocks & scree in places and a ton of mule & horse poop on the West Fork portion of the trail.

backpacking
rocky
4 months ago

Solid hike. Left at 8am on 06.28 and was at the lake by 2pm. The 6 hrs included about an hour worth of stops and we were also carrying 35 lb packs. Final switchbacks were tough. We stayed two nights. Didn't care much for the heavily trafficked west fork trail portion, but once you cross the river it is spectacular. Snow was not an issue on the trail, but there is still plenty of pack around the lake and the lake itself is still half frozen. I was surprised about how "crowded" the Ice Lake Trail was, though. I can't imagine what it is like from mid-July through August...probably tough to find a decent camp site. If you are looking for seclusion, I recommend a more interior lake.

backpacking
rocky
snow
4 months ago

The review from Christina was very helpful and accurate. I am not quite sure where the 12.6 miles is starting from but it is for sure 9+ miles to Ice Lake. We left on 6/21 at 1pm and had rain, hail, and snow on us most of the trip up. It is an absolutely beautiful hike! We were not able to get through the snow at the very top we were really wet and cold and needed to find a place to camp so we came back down to the beautiful meadow before the final switch backs. We had a beautiful hike down in the sunshine the following day. We will for sure do this trip again after the snow melts !! Incredible

hiking
scramble
snow
5 months ago

This trail is 18 miles total, not 12.6. Last mile and a half is still covered in very deep snow and made for some very technical hiking. What made this challenge rewarding and worth it was that with every step and every switchback there were even more incredible views. If there ever was that “bliss point” hike that stimulated every sense, this is it!

hiking
muddy
5 months ago

too muddy. a lot of horse dung. we didn't go past the bridge. lots of great views though. wouldn't do it again

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

By far the best trail in the Eagle Cap Wilderness have gone many times and planning a trip this August 2019

hiking
snow
7 months ago

My husband and I hiked a portion of this trail on 03/30/2019 and the trail is still blanketed by 2+ feet of snow, depending on the part of the trail. Made for some challenging fun. We were only able to make it 1.6 miles in before turning around as the depth and quality of the snow was getting more difficult. There are some areas it was more compacted and easier to traverse with our micro spikes. Snow shoes may be a better idea. The views we had were beautiful and it was a wonderful hike. Easy to follow based on the track of those who came before us. It was a quiet trail as we did not see anyone on this day. Would love to tackle this again when the snow clears.

hiking
10 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike. I did it completely un-prepared in casual shoes. Wouldn't recommend that at all, but this hike changed my life. Awesome views. I did this hike back in 2007, and now that I have a family, we are all planning a trip there this summer to hike even more.

backpacking
Sat Sep 08 2018

Absolutely amazing. We went on Labor Day weekend and were bummed when we saw how crowded the trail head and trails were. but when we got to the lake we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves! There are lots of little coves and many camp spots all around the lake, so even when there are a lot of people there is room to spread out. We must have picked a nice time of year to visit because we didn't experience the mosquito problems others have mentioned. If you don't backpack often and aren't used to carrying heavy packs, leave early and give yourself plenty of time for breaks. It basically gentle uphill the entire way with some slightly steeper parts near the top. If you like fishing, this is the place. We caught one with a piece of floss and a safety pin so I'm pretty sure anyone can get something! Ill definitely be back sometime to summit the Matterhorn and see some more of the lakes Eagle Cap has to offer!

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