Wildhorse Lake Trail from Steens Summit Road

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Steens Mountain Wilderness

Wildhorse Lake Trail from Steens Summit Road is a 2.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Frenchglen, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length2.5 miElevation gain1,059 ftRoute typeOut & back
HikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingDog friendlyLakeViewsWildflowersWildlife
Description
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NOTE: it is reported that this hike may close intermittently. Please check with the park before visiting. Rough, remote, and beautiful. Alpacas, llamas and horses are an occasional site. Also, the last two Tuesdays of July, don't be surprised at the sight of a couple hundred runners. The trail is steep and at high elevation, so expect to need to stop for breathers if you're not used to either. However, the views make it all worth it. It's not a long trail, is well defined and easy to follow. As you get closer to the lake, you realize the magnitude of your surroundings. This area is so special and otherworldly. It can be windy and cold at any time of year, and snows annually, so prepare for adverse weather conditions no matter the time of year.

Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (50)
Photos (55)
Recordings (36)
Completed (96)
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Leif Wisdahl
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Hiking

beautiful. but even though it is short is is steep and there is lots of loose rocks and scree. bring trekking poles.

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Curtis Barnard
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HikingGreat!RockyScrambleSnow

I hiked this over July 4th weekend and there was still snow at the top of the rim. This made for a sketchy decent down thru a cliff band before getting to the actual trail. from there down it was easily though. This is a hike that would be slammed with people if it wasn't an 8 hour drive from people so make sure you do it if you're in the area. Great geology, wildflowers and beautiful Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. I made a video about my visit if you'd like to get a better sense of the trail: https://youtu.be/FdpO1I5whIM

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Kim Fox
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 8, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeScramble

Very steep descent with loose gravel. Poles would have been great! Lake pretty low but still beautiful. Not much wildlife around. One of Oregon’s gems for sure.

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Amanda Barrett
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Hiking

Beautiful.

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Jen Joyce
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HikingGreat!No shadeRocky

This hike is rated as moderate and well, that’s a bald-faced lie. Hahaha But the truth is that this is on my list for one of the most magical places I’ve ever seen. Is was worth the scrambling, slipping, my fear of heights peeking out to say hello and steep route back up. For this hike, slow and steady wins the race and hiking poles are your best friend.

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Steve Liu
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Hiking

Watch your footing! Very loose on the way down and a tumble could be bad with some exposure at points. Poles may help for stability. Well worth it though! Going up may well be easier than coming down.

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taylor eke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 1, 2020
Hiking

I would rate this difficult or hard because of the steep grade and loose gravel. Lake is stunning up close so give it a shot!

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Matthew W
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Hiking

Lots of fun going down the switchbacks, great views, nice little lake. Interesting rocks and small streams on the way. Enjoyed the trail a lot.

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Derek Gustafson
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Hiking

Went in mid-August in the afternoon. Not too hot and on the way back it was shady and extremely windy because a violent thunderstorm was rolling in. Saw beautiful wildflowers and only a few other people were on the trail on a Sunday.

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Chuck Albright
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Hiking

A little sketchy for the first 100 feet, but worth the scramble.

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Bill Reid
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HikingBugsNo shadeScramble

Saturday July 18 the trail was carpeted by tons of wildflowers. It’s not a long hike, but agree the mile of it is actually “difficult” terrain on the return ascent. Footing down was surprisingly tricky with the scramble. Don’t be too distracted by views and wildflowers :) Also, Wildhorse Lake has endemic Lahontan cutthroat trout visible from the bank. A rare site to enjoy.

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James Whittum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 1, 2020
HikingNo shadeSnow

We did it five days ago. Snow in the beginning needed to do scramble on rock ledges with exposure but was safe. Otherwise a great trail and love the quick dip. I would not say it is moderate since it’s 1000 foot elevation change in a mile which rates it as steep and strenuous especially given the elevation of nearly 10,000 feet. Road up from French Glenn in great shape.

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Meghan Strom
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Closed
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Jennifer Welander
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Hiking

The hike is challenging from a terrain perspective but short and beautiful! I would highly recommend. Four of us did it, 90 minutes down and an hour back up. Take your fly rod, you won’t be disappointed.

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Lauren Honan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 25, 2019
Hiking

Incredible hike! Ran down the trail and took a dive into the lake. I would rate this hike difficult for steepness though.

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Becky Chinn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

Incredibly stunning wildflowers and scenery. So peaceful down by the lake. The long (25 mile) gravel roadway to get there was in better shape than I had expected given some other previous reviews. That said, there were some areas of the trail that were downright scary with lots of loose rock and steep drop-offs. Everyone up there, including some very experienced hikers, was remarking upon it. Worth it though.

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Kendall Walton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 9, 2019
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble
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