Wallowa River Loop Trail

HARD 39 reviews

Wallowa River Loop Trail is a 24.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Joseph, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and horses and is best used from July until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 24.7 miles Elevation Gain: 4,573 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

forest

lake

river

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

backpacking
blowdown
bridge out
rocky
snow
4 months ago

The scenery was spectacular! I would recommend that people intending to backpack in the Wallowas be prepared for tough trail conditions. Because the Wallowas are granite, the trail is hard and unforgiving. I’m glad I had just purchased new cushioning insoles. The beauty of the place makes trips here extraordinary and worth some tenderfootness. Other than my sore feet, this trip was magical. I went the third weekend of September, right before standard hunting season starts and after school started. I still saw a dozen or so other people but way less than I would have if I had come in August. The night before I hit the trail, the highest part of my intended path got 8 inches of snow. So be prepared for any weather here any time. Most of the creek crossings have no bridge, including two that are each about 30 feet wide. Logs or stepping stones served me well at all creek crossings. The AllTrails App repeatedly told me I was off trail, which was a little annoying. It also said the turnoff from Frazier Lake to Glacier Lake was right before Frazier Lake. It’s right after Frazier Lake, if you’re doing the loop clockwise. So be sure to carry a paper map rather than rely exclusively on AllTrials.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
5 months ago

August 15-17. We camped the first night at Frazier Lake and the second night at Horseshoe Lake. One river crossing before Frazier Lake with a few easy options. Look for the small log upstream. Once you cross, you can locate the trail straight ahead of you (with your back to the river). The trail heads to the left. Glacier Lake is even more stunning than Frazier Lake and would recommend staying there if you have anything left in you to go a little farther after reaching Frazier Lake. Moccasin Lake and Horseshoe Lake are both amazing swimming lakes and recommend either for camping. The river crossing between Six Mile Meadow and Horseshoe Lake requires two crossings (two arms of the river). We found easy logs for one and waded through ankle deep water for the second (round pebble bottom to walk on). Only a few steps over snow, nothing worth mentioning. Wildflowers galore! One of the most stunning hikes I have done. It really starts getting beautiful after six mike meadow. Highly recommend. Enjoy!!!

hiking
5 months ago

I did this trail with my brother and brother-in-law from 7/30-8/1. Day 1: We made it 8.5 miles to Frazier lake. Beautiful area. The stars at night were unreal. I haven’t seen that number of stars since I lived in Alaska. The bugs were annoying but manageable. Saw lots of deer during the daylight and lots of yellow eyes at night. Day 2: We hiked to Glacier lake early. Would have loved to camp here on night one, but it was a little too far with an early afternoon start. We followed the trail up, detoured and went to the top of Eagle Cap. This view was worth the hike up...lots of different ways to get up. There is a trail with very little snow, but we just started hiking through the snow. The route was steady but not overly hard. I would recommend hiking poles. We ended up hiking to Horseshoe Lake for the night. We found a spot just off of the lake. Lots of campers here. Day 3: We did the final 8 miles quickly (2.5 hours). Overall a great hike. I had cheap hiking shoes and paid for it. My legs were more sore than after an ultramarathon. I switched to a pair of toe shoes. They worked really well, but I kept catching my toes on rock in the trail.

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

We did this loop in 3 days. The first river crossing was very sketchy and dangerous but we survived and crossed a little farther down the river from where the trail wanted us to cross. Took the route of Frazier lake and camped the first night here. It was beautiful but so many mosquitoes. Using Deet barely helped. Plenty of camping areas this night. Took Glacier pass up to the lake and stopped for lunch. This was the most incredible part of the hike. Had to cross quit a few glacier though, so if you are afraid of heights or taking extra risk, you might want to do this hike later in the year. Second night we camped at Douglas lake. The bugs were not as bad here and the lake was also beautiful. Third day out was fairly easy. All and all we loves the hike but things you should consider to bring: Poles a must, water shoes, 2 bottle of bug spray and bear spray. We did this - 7/25-7/27

backpacking
6 months ago

Did this in 3 days in late July. Glacier Pass and Lake are beautiful and secluded, well worth the trip. The Chief Joseph Days rodeo was occurring this week so Wallowa Lake campground was full and trails were crowded the first and third day. We spent the first day hiking behind pack horses. The lower lakes are pretty but lots of mosquitoes. Glacier Pass had snow and we needed GPS to follow the trail. There's one difficult river crossing. Bring poles for snow & river crossing, waterproof sandals for crossing, & GPS for trail finding. Avoid the last 2 weekends of July. I'd recommend doing the trip in Sept to avoid crowds & mosquitoes.

Wed Oct 03 2018

beautiful and lots of uphill. we did it in 5 days. pretty cold as we did it the last week of September. take time to stop and look. so beautiful

backpacking
Sun Sep 16 2018

An incredibly beautiful trip. We did this in three days but wished we had spent at least 5 days ! This is a great post Labor Day trip as there were not too many people. First night at 6 miles meadow was in the upper 20s but beautiful sunny days.

hiking
Fri Aug 31 2018

We did this as a day hike. The trail was in great shape; it’s very well graded throughout so there are very few steep portions. The last mile before Frazier Lake had some larger rocks to scramble over but over all an excellent trail. Can’t wait to do the entire loop some day.

backpacking
Fri Aug 10 2018

8/01 - 8/03: Went in to Aneroid Lake via the east fork then over Polaris Pass and up to Glacier Lake finshed through the Basin and down the west fork. Awesome trip!! Stunning scenery, Bugs a non factor, water refreshing, and fish biting!! Trails down from Polaris Pass in pretty rough shape, but worth the extra effort!!

backpacking
Fri Aug 03 2018

7/30 - left trailhead at 8:30am and arrived at 6-mile meadows at 11:30 am, crossed river and had lunch, started up Lakes trail at 1pm and arrived at Horseshoe Lake at 2:30pm, made camp on August Island, swam in lake, weather was stellar, bugs not bad, bean and rice burritos for dinner 7/31 - up at 7am, breakfast of eggs, biscuits, and prosciutto, swam in lake, packed up and onto Mirror Lake at 9am, arrived at Mirror Lake at 11am and made camp on lake with great view of Eagle Cap, hiked to both ends of Mirror Lake in afternoon, briefly saw a group of bighorn sheep in west meadow that were quickly scared off by another hiker's dog 8/1 - headed for Eagle Cap at 7:15am and made summit by 8:45am, trail was very good and clear of snow, unfortunately a haze of smoke was in the area, diminishing the incredible views, on return made scramble to small peak on other side of Horton Pass and had lunch, unable to traverse ridge further to Minam Lake trail, but had nice views of Minam and Blue lakes 8/2 - late breakfast and broke camp, backpacked to Glacier Pass around 11am, absolutely beautiful at Glacier Lake, arrived around 1pm, jumped in icy cold lake and had lunch, considered staying, but headed for Frazier Lake around 2:30pm, gorgeous views on downhill traverse to Frazier along creek coming out of Glacier Lake, arrived at Frazier around 3:30pm, an underwhelming lake in comparison to Glacier, decided to keep hiking for 6-mile Meadows, crossed back over river about 4:30pm, arrived in meadows around 6:30pm 8/3 - broke camp and hit trail at around 9am for easy 6-mile descent to trailhead, arrived just after noon, great trip and beautiful area, would highly recommend and plan to go back

backpacking
Sat Aug 05 2017

Amazing trail to backpack! I went in late July. The river was GUSHING which made the ford very challenging (and a bit dangerous). Glacier Pass was covered in, well, glaciers. This made the trail difficult to follow and we were not prepared to pass over snow, but we managed without losing any party members :) Lakes Basin was beautiful, albeit there were lots of mosquitos. My party was made of 4, and we had two small dogs travel with us. Lakes full of little trout and were a swimmable temperature, trails were well maintained (save the glacier thing), wild flowers were blooming like crazy, sunsets were gorgeous. One night was clear enough to star gaze for hours. There was a thunderstorm and we had some good rain the third night. Excellent trip, highly recommended.

Fri Jul 01 2016

My favorite vacation spot with hidden gems everywhere

fishing
Mon Oct 06 2014

The mule deer here will eat from your hand

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