High Wallowa Trail In Oregon

Here is everything you need to know about the High Wallowa Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Oregon
  • Length: 2 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: U.S. Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The High Wallowa Trail, located in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon, has a rich historical background that dates back centuries. The area has long been inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Nez Perce, who utilized the trail for hunting, gathering, and trading. The Nez Perce people had a deep connection to the land and considered the Wallowa Mountains as sacred.

In the late 1800s, European settlers began to explore and settle in the region. The trail gained prominence during this time as a transportation route for miners, loggers, and ranchers. It provided access to the abundant natural resources of the area, including timber, minerals, and grazing lands. The trail was also used by early explorers and surveyors, who were mapping the region and searching for potential routes for railroads.

During the early 20th century, the High Wallowa Trail became a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and tourists. The stunning alpine scenery, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife attracted hikers, campers, and anglers from all over the country. The trail’s popularity continued to grow, and in 1920, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest was established, ensuring the preservation and management of the area.

Today, the High Wallowa Trail remains a beloved destination for outdoor recreation. It offers a variety of hiking options, ranging from day trips to multi-day backpacking adventures. The trail allows visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Wallowa Mountains, while also providing a glimpse into the rich history and cultural significance of the area.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Wallowa Lake Trailhead: This is the starting point for the High Wallowa Trail. It is located near Wallowa Lake State Park and offers parking facilities and restrooms.

2. Hurricane Creek Trailhead: This access point is located about 6 miles from Wallowa Lake Trailhead. It provides parking facilities and is a popular starting point for hikers.

3. East Fork Wallowa River Trailhead: This trailhead is located about 10 miles from Wallowa Lake Trailhead. It offers parking facilities and is another popular access point for the High Wallowa Trail.

4. Wallowa Lake Tramway: Although not a traditional trailhead, the Wallowa Lake Tramway provides an alternative access point to the High Wallowa Trail. It takes visitors up to the summit of Mount Howard, where they can connect with the trail.

5. Ice Lake Trailhead: This trailhead is located about 12 miles from Wallowa Lake Trailhead. It offers parking facilities and is a popular starting point for hikers heading towards Ice Lake and the surrounding area.

6. Aneroid Lake Trailhead: Located about 15 miles from Wallowa Lake Trailhead, this access point provides parking facilities and is a starting point for hikers heading towards Aneroid Lake and the surrounding alpine meadows.

7. Two Pan Trailhead: This trailhead is located about 20 miles from Wallowa Lake Trailhead. It offers parking facilities and is a popular access point for hikers heading towards the Two Pan Trail and the surrounding wilderness.

8. Tenderfoot Trailhead: Located about 25 miles from Wallowa Lake Trailhead, this access point provides parking facilities and is a starting point for hikers heading towards Tenderfoot Pass and the surrounding area.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the High Wallowa Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Wallowa Lake Tramway – Scenic tram ride offering breathtaking views of the Wallowa Mountains.
2. Wallowa Valley Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to various trailheads and outdoor destinations in the area.
3. Wallowa Lake Marina – Boat rentals and water taxi service for exploring Wallowa Lake and nearby attractions.
4. Wallowa County Transit – Public transportation service offering routes throughout Wallowa County.
5. Wallowa Lake Pack Station – Horseback riding and pack trips for exploring the High Wallowa Trail and surrounding wilderness.
6. Wallowa Lake State Park – Campground and day-use area with boat launch and beach access for recreational activities.
7. Wallowa Lake Tramway Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from the Wallowa Lake Tramway for convenient access to the trail.
8. Wallowa Lake Trolley – Historic trolley offering narrated tours around Wallowa Lake and nearby points of interest.
9. Wallowa Lake Zip Line – Zip line adventure park providing thrilling rides through the forest canopy.
10. Wallowa Lake Miniature Golf – Family-friendly miniature golf course for some leisurely fun.


The amenities available at the High Wallowa Trail may vary, but here are some common amenities that you might find:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail. These could include flush toilets or pit toilets.

2. Parking: Depending on the trailhead, there may be designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The High Wallowa Trail might have designated camping areas or backcountry campsites along the trail. These sites could include tent pads, fire rings, and picnic tables.

4. Picnic Areas: There might be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and have a meal or enjoy a picnic. These areas could have picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles.

5. Water Sources: The trail might have access to water sources such as streams, rivers, or lakes. Visitors can use these sources for drinking water or other recreational activities.

6. Trail Markers and Signage: The trail may have markers or signs to guide hikers and provide information about the trail, including distances, directions, and points of interest.

7. Information Boards: There might be information boards at the trailhead or along the trail, providing details about the trail, safety guidelines, and any specific regulations.

8. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The trail might have designated areas where visitors can observe wildlife in their natural habitat. These areas could have viewing platforms or overlooks.

9. Interpretive Displays: Along the trail, there might be interpretive displays or educational signs that provide information about the local flora, fauna, geology, or history.

10. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, there may be trash receptacles available at the trailhead or at regular intervals along the trail.

It is important to note that the availability of these amenities can vary, and it is recommended to check with local authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information on the amenities provided at the High Wallowa Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Wallowa Lake Lodge – Lakeside lodging with stunning views of the Wallowa Mountains.
2. Eagle Cap Chalets – Cozy cabins nestled in the wilderness, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
3. RimRock Inn – Rustic lodge offering comfortable accommodations and delicious meals.
4. Wallowa Lake State Park – Campground with tent and RV sites near the trailhead.
5. Glacier Grill – Casual restaurant serving American cuisine and offering takeout options.
6. Terminal Gravity Brewing – Local brewery with a pub-style menu and craft beers.
7. Joseph Branch Railriders – Unique railbike adventure along the scenic Wallowa River.
8. Wallowa Memorial Hospital – Nearby medical facility providing emergency services.
9. Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office – Local law enforcement agency for any emergencies or assistance needed.
10. Enterprise Fire Department – Fire and rescue services for the area.

High Wallowa Trail Difficulty Notes

The High Wallowa Trail is known for its challenging difficulty level, making it a popular choice for experienced hikers seeking a thrilling adventure. With its steep ascents, rugged terrain, and high elevation, this trail demands physical endurance and mental resilience. Hikers must navigate through rocky sections, narrow ridges, and potentially treacherous weather conditions, adding to the trail’s difficulty. However, the reward for conquering this challenging trail is unparalleled, as it offers breathtaking views of the Wallowa Mountains, pristine alpine lakes, and an opportunity to immerse oneself in the untouched beauty of nature.

Features And Attractions

The High Wallowa Trail is a scenic hiking trail located in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon. Along the trail, you can find various scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the High Wallowa Trail:

1. Wallowa Lake: The trailhead for the High Wallowa Trail starts at Wallowa Lake, a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by mountains.

2. Ice Lake: This stunning turquoise lake is a popular destination along the trail. It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and is known for its crystal-clear waters.

3. Matterhorn: This iconic peak is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Wallowa Mountains. It stands at an elevation of 9,826 feet and offers a challenging climb for experienced mountaineers.

4. Aneroid Lake: Nestled in a high alpine basin, Aneroid Lake is another picturesque destination along the trail. It is surrounded by rugged peaks and offers excellent camping opportunities.

5. Eagle Cap Wilderness: The High Wallowa Trail passes through the Eagle Cap Wilderness, a designated wilderness area known for its pristine beauty and diverse wildlife.

6. Glacier Lake: As the name suggests, Glacier Lake is a glacially-fed lake that offers stunning views of the surrounding glaciers and rugged mountain peaks.

7. Mirror Lake: This small alpine lake is aptly named for its mirror-like reflection of the surrounding mountains. It is a peaceful spot to relax and enjoy the scenery.

8. Chief Joseph Mountain: Standing at an elevation of 9,845 feet, Chief Joseph Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the Wallowa Mountains. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

9. Wallowa River: The High Wallowa Trail follows the Wallowa River for a portion of its route, providing hikers with scenic river views and opportunities for fishing.

10. Minam River: Another river that the trail crosses is the Minam River, known for its clear waters and beautiful canyon scenery.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter along the High Wallowa Trail. The trail offers a diverse range of landscapes and is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

Usage Guidelines

– Pets are allowed on the High Wallowa Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Camping is permitted along the trail, but campfires are only allowed in designated fire rings or with a valid permit.
– Hiking and camping are allowed year-round, but be prepared for changing weather conditions and potential seasonal restrictions.
– Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and waste, and minimize your impact on the environment.
– Hunting and fishing may be allowed in certain areas, but check local regulations and obtain the necessary permits.
– Respect wildlife and their habitats; do not approach or feed wild animals.
– Stay on designated trails to protect fragile ecosystems and prevent erosion.
– Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the High Wallowa Trail.
– Practice proper trail etiquette: yield to hikers going uphill, keep noise levels to a minimum, and be courteous to other trail users.
– Obtain any necessary permits or passes before entering the trail, such as wilderness permits or parking passes.

Seasonal Information

The High Wallowa Trail, located in the stunning Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon, offers breathtaking scenery and a variety of outdoor activities throughout the year. The best times to visit this trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. However, the summer months of June through September are generally considered the prime season for hiking, backpacking, and camping along the High Wallowa Trail.

During this time, the trail is typically snow-free, allowing for easier access and safer hiking conditions. The weather is generally pleasant, with warm temperatures during the day and cool nights. Wildflowers bloom in abundance, painting the landscape with vibrant colors, and the alpine lakes are perfect for swimming and fishing. Wildlife sightings are also common, with opportunities to spot deer, elk, mountain goats, and even the occasional black bear.

It’s important to note that the High Wallowa Trail experiences seasonal closures during the winter months. Heavy snowfall and harsh weather conditions make the trail inaccessible and potentially dangerous. The closure usually begins in late October or early November and lasts until late spring or early summer, depending on snowmelt. It’s advisable to check with local authorities or the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest for the most up-to-date information on trail closures and conditions before planning your visit.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the High Wallowa Trail are during the summer months when the trail is snow-free, the weather is pleasant, and the landscape is at its most vibrant. However, it’s essential to be aware of the seasonal closures during winter, as the trail becomes inaccessible and unsafe. Whether you’re an avid hiker, nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat in the mountains, the High Wallowa Trail offers a memorable experience in the heart of Oregon’s natural beauty.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead for easy access.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A paved or firm surface leading to the trailhead, allowing wheelchair users to reach the trail easily.
3. Wide and Smooth Trail Surface: The trail is wide and smooth, providing a comfortable and safe experience for wheelchair users.
4. Gentle Slopes: The trail has gradual slopes, making it easier for wheelchair users to navigate.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail for wheelchair users to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with wheelchair-accessible stalls and facilities.
7. Signage with Braille: Trail signs featuring Braille text for visually impaired individuals.
8. Audio Guides: Audio guides available for individuals with visual impairments, providing information about the trail.
9. Handrails and Guardrails: Handrails and guardrails installed in areas where additional support is needed.
10. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and facilities for wheelchair users.
11. Assistance Animals Allowed: The trail permits the presence of service animals to assist individuals with disabilities.
12. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
13. Accessible Viewing Areas: Designated areas along the trail that provide accessible viewpoints for wheelchair users.
14. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays with accessible features, such as tactile elements or audio descriptions.
15. Emergency Call Boxes: Emergency call boxes installed along the trail for immediate assistance if needed.

Safety Information

1. Plan and prepare: Research the trail, check weather conditions, and pack essential gear before embarking on the High Wallowa Trail.
2. Inform others: Share your hiking plans with someone reliable, including your expected return time.
3. Carry navigation tools: Bring a map, compass, or GPS device to ensure you stay on the correct trail.
4. Stay hydrated: Carry enough water and drink regularly to prevent dehydration.
5. Pack extra food: Bring additional snacks or meals in case of unexpected delays.
6. Dress appropriately: Wear layers, sturdy footwear, and protective clothing suitable for changing weather conditions.
7. Protect against sun exposure: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to shield yourself from harmful UV rays.
8. Watch for wildlife: Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a safe distance from any encountered animals.
9. Be cautious near water: Exercise caution when crossing streams or rivers, and avoid slippery rocks or steep banks.
10. Avoid hiking alone: Whenever possible, hike with a companion for safety and assistance in case of emergencies.
11. Stay on the trail: Stick to designated paths to avoid getting lost or damaging fragile ecosystems.
12. Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it, as well as basic wilderness survival skills.
13. Check for trail closures or restrictions: Stay updated on any closures, fire bans, or other restrictions that may affect your hike.
14. Leave no trace: Respect the environment by packing out all trash and minimizing your impact on the trail.
15. Trust your instincts: If a situation feels unsafe or beyond your abilities, turn back or seek assistance.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the High Wallowa Trail is considered to be relatively stable. The trail is located within the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeastern Oregon, which is managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS). The USFS has implemented various measures to protect and preserve the natural resources and ecosystems along the trail.

Efforts have been made to minimize human impact on the trail and its surrounding environment. This includes enforcing regulations such as Leave No Trace principles, which encourage visitors to minimize their impact on the land by packing out their trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting wildlife and vegetation. The USFS also conducts regular maintenance and trail improvements to ensure the safety and accessibility of the High Wallowa Trail.

Additionally, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has designated certain areas along the trail as wilderness or special management zones. These areas have stricter regulations to protect their unique ecological characteristics and wildlife habitats. The USFS works closely with conservation organizations and local communities to monitor and manage these areas, ensuring that they remain undisturbed and preserved for future generations.

Overall, the conservation status of the High Wallowa Trail is considered to be well-maintained and protected. The efforts of the USFS and other stakeholders have helped to preserve the natural beauty and ecological integrity of this trail, allowing visitors to enjoy its scenic landscapes while minimizing their impact on the environment.

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