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Ice Lake

Wallowas

Wallowa Mountains, Oregon

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Ice Lake

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  • View from the north end of Wallowa Lake.- Ice Lake
  • The Wallowa Lake Trailhead.- Ice Lake
  • Boulder field along the West Fork of the Wallowa River.- Ice Lake
  • Craig Mountain (9,209').- Ice Lake
  • The West Fork of the Wallowa River.- Ice Lake
  • Trail junction with the Ice Lake Trail.- Ice Lake
  • Craig Mountain (9,209'). - Ice Lake
  • West shoulder of Craig Mountain (9,209').- Ice Lake
  • Craig Mountain on the right and an unnamed peak on the left (9,314').- Ice Lake
  • Ice Lake with Craig Mountain to the left.- Ice Lake
  • Craig Mountain (9,209').- Ice Lake
  • Camp at 6,800 feet.- Ice Lake
  • West Fork of the Wallowa River and Ice Lake Trailheads.- Ice Lake
  • View from the north end of Wallowa Lake.- Ice Lake
  • Ice Lake. Peaks from left to right: Craig Mountain (9,209'), unnamed peak (9,314'), Matterhorn (9,826'), Hurwal Divide.- Ice Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Solitude.
Cons: 
Difficult way-finding. Cold temperatures. Deep powder. Avalanche potential.
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Region:
Wallowa Mountains, OR
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,190.00 ft (972.31 m)
Parking Pass: 
Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)
Preferable Season(s):
Winter
Total Distance: 
18.00 mi (28.97 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,659.00 ft (1,420.06 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Nestled in the shadow of the tallest peaks in the Wallowa Mountain Range, Ice Lake is a majestic high-alpine lake that completely freezes in the chill of winter, rewarding snowshoe and backcountry enthusiasts with incredible scenery.  The trail navigates the snow covered slopes and rises to tree line, providing breathtaking views of jagged granite peaks and winding streams that keep your heart pumping for the entire length of the trail. Beginning at the Wallowa Lake Trailhead, the trail parallels the West Fork of the Wallowa River and rises at a gentle grade as snow-covered boulders pop out of the rushing water like toad stools. After 3 miles the trail crosses a log bridge and makes a steep climb to tree line.  Heavy winter snowpack provides opportunities for experienced navigators to shorten the route by climbing straight up the slope to bypass switchbacks.

Trail-breaking through the knee-deep powder may make for a slow ascent, however, so keep an eye on the time and look for locations to camp if you find yourself racing the sun. There is a bench at 6,800 feet approximately 1 mile from the lake that offers a perfect place to camp using the protection of short alpine trees. You will enjoy your lighter pack as you make a morning ascent through a timber stand to the edge of Ice Lake to watch the mountaintops glisten in the sunlight. Look for signs of elk, deer and other wildlife along the trail as wildlife viewing opportunities are common.

Be sure to pack appropriately for the weather as temperatures can dip below zero with the wind chill.  Also, storms are frequent in the winter months.  Hikers must understand the snow conditions and use caution in avalanche prone areas.

 

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(15 within a 30 mile radius)

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