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Ice Falls Oregon WA – Description | History | Travel Guide | Location

(Last Updated On: May 3, 2021)

Ice Lake and falls is a small lake in Wallowa County, in northeastern Oregon, United States, within the Eagle Cap Wilderness area. Its outflow is Adam Creek.

Ice Falls Oregon Overview

Easy till you cross the river and make your first ascent up via switchbacks then it ranges out when you attain a meadow. There’s a small creek there to replenish okay water before the ultimate climb as much as the lake.

There are more tenting spots than you may suppose, simply maintain trying, there are some good spots on the opposite side of the lake with plenty of shade.

Ice Lake Trail is a 25.7 kilometer reasonably trafficked out and back path positioned close to Joseph, Oregon that contains a lake and is rated as tough. The path affords various exercise choices and is finest used from July till September. Dogs are additionally in a position to make use of this path however should be stored on a leash.

For the seasoned hiker/backpacker/path runner this can problem you nevertheless it won’t be too unhealthy. For the novice this can zap you fairly fast.

The trail is a gradual incline from Wallowa lake to the path head however shortly after the river crossing you start to achieve altitude shortly. nearly all of this path is switchbacks. ice lake is gorgeous and the brook trout proved to be good fishing.

Ice Falls Description

The Wallowa Mountains are a spectacular sight. The “rootless” ridge of mountains is considered one of Oregon’s great wonders, hidden away within the northeast nook of the state. For hikers, there’s so much in these mountains to see, however the best vacation spot – the crown jewel of the Wallowas – may simply be Ice Lake.

The blue alpine lake is nestled high within the mountains, at practically 8,000 feet above sea level – for comparability, the very best level within the Wallowas, Sacajawea Peak, is 9,838 feet tall.

A wide range of mountain peaks surrounds the lake: the marble-topped Matterhorn, stately Chief Joseph Mountain, and craggy Craig Mountain, to name a couple of.

One of the best challenges of touring the Wallowa Mountains is getting a deal with which mountains are which. There are so many peaks, many practically equivalent, that it may be easy to get lost amongst all of it – not that there is something wrong with that.

In reality, you may be higher off giving up and soaking all of it in relatively than attempting to grasp the range, and there won’t be a greater place to try this than at Ice Lake.

The hike to Ice Lake begins on the Wallowa Lake Trailhead, a giant trailhead close to Wallowa Lake State Park. Parking is free, and you may solely need to fill out a free allowance to hike within the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

An indication on the start says Ice Lake is 9 miles away. Quite a lot of people do it as a day journey, nevertheless, it’s nicely priced staying the night if in case you have time.

It begins alongside the dusty and rocky West Fork Wallowa River Trail, a popular path for hikers and pack mules alike (thoughts the poop). It follows the beautiful West Fork Wallowa River, which rages via the mountains, framed by tall stands of firs and wildflowers come summer season. After a couple of miles, you will branch off onto the Ice Lake Trail, the place the actual hike begins.

After crossing the river over a single-rail log bridge, the path begins its relentless ascent to Ice Lake. In all, the hike covers practically 3,200 feet of elevation, and during the last 4 miles, you will be climbing simply over 2,300 feet of that.

There are not any particularly steep switchbacks – as an alternative, the path simply climbs and climbs, at occasions virtually imperceptibly, to the end.

Some breaks are built-in by means of scenic viewpoints. The sweeping face of Bonneville Mountain will get nicer the higher you go, and there are a few locations to cease and see the number of spectacular waterfalls alongside the path. Beauty Falls is the simplest to put eyes on, however, Ice Falls is essentially the most magnificent, thundering higher up down the mountain in torrents.

You will not see Ice Lake till you are virtually on top of it, and at that time, you may be dying for a dip. You may wish to seize a campsite first because the lake can get crowded on summer season weekends: Go left and cross the creek to search out the nice sites on the eastern side of the lake.

Ice Lake is an incredible place to take a seat and reflect, nevertheless, it would not be the end of your journey. Adventurous hikers with just a little further time can deal with the Matterhorn too. A tough 3.6-mile round-trip hike will take you to the top of the mountain, the place Ice Lake may look even prettier, nestled into the crown of the majestic Wallowas.

Ice Falls Hike Description

Ice Lake is among the most coveted locations within the Wallowas and, as such, campsites might be at a premium on summer season weekends, when overnighters have their sights set on bagging the Matterhorn’s marble summit (see Matterhorn Add-on Hike).

The recognition of the spot shouldn’t detract from a go-to, nonetheless, particularly if you are able to do it mid-week.

All up the path, meadows are blooming in mid-summer, there are waterfalls to explore as you ascend Adam Creek, and Ice Lake itself is a tranquil oasis below the Wallowas’ highest ridge. Some will do Ice Lake, and even the Matterhorn, as a long day hike; others will favor the repose of a night or two within the wilderness on the shores of this high lake.

At the massive Wallowa Lake Trailhead in Wallowa Lake State Park, fill out a Wilderness Permit and connect it to your pack. Take the West Fork Wallowa River Trail #1820 and head up on a dusty tread well-trodden by mule and horse trains.

In a couple of quarter-mile, the path meets the West Fork Wallowa-Chief Joseph Mountain Trail Junction (maintain left right here) before the West Fork’s slim, speeding gorge. Take a spur on the gorge to view the speeding spate after which resume mountaineering up the river.

Enter the Eagle Cap Wilderness and shortly attain an area scarred by an avalanche. Sometimes you might be under a forest cover of Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce, and western larch with ponderosa pine, western white pine, and grand fir; on different occasions, you might be mountaineering via shrubby thickets alongside the river typically shaded by lodgepole pine. The path rises in a few spots to skirt boggy seeps.

There are frequent views of the West Fork Wallowa itself in addition to the rugged ridge to the west. After about 2 ½ miles, you’ll attain the West Fork Wallowa-Ice Lake Trail Junction.

Go right here on the Ice Lake Trail #1808 and descend gently to the river. The substantial bridge that carried hikers to the opposite bank was washed out in 2011, however, there may be now a single log with rail crossing (2013).

A relentless ascent now begins because the path makes some large switchbacks via shady copses of conifers and open meadows blooming with mariposa lilies, paintbrush, penstemon, groundsel, and coneflower in summer.

Scented shrubs like mock orange and wormwood are additionally in bloom. As you rise, there will likely be vistas throughout to the high ridgeline of Bonneville Mountain.

The path now makes a collection of tighter switchbacks because it ascends the ravine of Adam Creek, which shows a few of the most spectacular waterfalls and cascades in eastern Oregon.

Beauty Falls might be approached from the path; Ice Falls plunges into the luxurious bench above Beauty Falls. You at the moment are in an alpine zone with subalpine fir, mountain hemlock, and limber pine. The Hurwal Divide looms above the trail to the right.

The path heads throughout a lush meadow and crosses a creek. There are more switchbacks, and when you attain the alpine bench which ends up in Ice Lake, not seen till you might be virtually upon it.
Ice Falls Oregon WA
Most campsites will likely be to your left, so cross Adam Creek and look around. The popular sites are on the little peninsula that juts into the lake from the east shore.

There are some sites additionally on the south shore, however that is largely a swampy meadow. It is possible to scramble around the lake to absorb quite a lot of views. To the north is the long ridge of the Hurwal Divide.

The Matterhorn, with its slopes of darkish limestone capped by white marble, looms to the west. In the night and early morning, search for mountain goats that come out to graze on the high meadows.

Whitebark pine, limber pine, subalpine fir, and mountain hemlock dot the slopes in some locations; in others, there are pocket meadows and avalanche chutes. To the south is a jagged ridge with Craig Mountain standing sentinel at Ice Lake’s southeast nook.

The west shore of the lake is mild and even sports activities a small seaside. The south shore alternates lush bogs with giant granite boulders, good leaping platforms for an icy, however personal, plunge. It is reported that the brook trout fishing within the lake is sweet.

Distance: 15 miles, out and back
Difficulty: Difficult
Crowds: Busy on summer season weekends
Amenities: Large parking area on the trailhead

-Start your hike on the Wallowa Lake Trailhead, discovered close to Wallowa Lake State Park (see the map). Fill out a free wilderness allow on the station, and connect it to your pack.

-Follow indicators to the West Fork Wallowa River Trail #1820, which will likely be to the right.

-You’ll quickly attain one other junction that heads to BC Falls however stay left to proceed towards Ice Lake.

-After about 3 miles, you will attain one other signed junction. Go right for the Ice Lake Trail #1808.

-A river crossing comes up right away, nevertheless it’s easy throughout a single-rail log bridge – simply be sure to carry on for those who get shaky.

-Follow the path for the remaining 4 miles of relentless ascent.

-Once you attain Ice Lake, go left and cross the creek to achieve campsites on the eastern side of the lake.

-If you are persevering with on to the Matterhorn, comply with the path on the north side of the lake to a path up the ridges of the mountain.

Review from a customer about the Ice Falls

“Absolutely gorgeous, breathtaking views! Hard to believe this is in OR, it looks more like Montana or Canada with the earth-bending vistas and rocky, jagged peaks. Definitely, a solid climb all the way up but the views get better as you go so it is definitely worth the work.

We hiked with poles for the first time & I cannot tell you how life-changing of a decision that was! If you’re on the fence about the poles – just go for it. I promise you won’t regret it, esp for this hike.

A ranger told us there was a snowstorm that blew through just a few days before we got there, so there was a lot of snow around the lake, most of the lake was frozen (at least on the surface), and the hike from the lake to the summit was super snowy and slushy.

It felt more like winter than summer, but gorgeous nonetheless and plenty of open spots around the lake to make camp for the night.

We had very sunny days so shorts and t-shirts were the perfect choices for the hike. If you plan on staying at the top overnight, bring insulating layers because it got pretty chilly. Also –

I have to mention it because no one else has – the first two miles of the trail are littered with horse poo. Horses trek to the river and back and it is quite messy. I wouldn’t let it deter you, just brace yourself mentally so you’re not caught off guard like we were! Surprising there aren’t more regulations about that…”

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