Tom’s experience Backpacking to Ice Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness:
The lake sits at about 8000 ft above sea level and getting to it can be a little difficult due to the steep trail.
Permits to the back country are free at the Wallowa Lake trail head near Joseph, Oregon.
The trail will follow West Fork of the Wallowa River as you climb up into the mountains. When we went there were plenty of signs and the trail was easy to follow.
You will eventually cross the West Fork of the Wallowa River across a bridge and start to follow Adam Creek up to Ice Lake.
This is where the trail really gets steep and there are numerous switchbacks. There are also a few waterfalls you can see as you hike up towards Ice Lake.
Once you get to the lake there are a ton of camping spots along the south side of the Lake. Also from here you can head up towards Matterhorn Peak (9,826 ft) and Sacajawea Peak (9,838 ft).
Sacajawea is the highest peak in the Wallowa Mountains with the Matterhorn being the second highest. Getting to the Matterhorn is fairly straight forward although very steep.
Sacajawea is a little more difficult and you must hike along very loose rock or climb over fairly easy but exposed towers.
The distance from the trail head to Ice Lake is about 8 miles so it can be done as a day hike or a nice backpack.
From the lake the mountains aren’t too far distance wise but they are very steep. Dogs are allowed in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
Trail Info: The trail head starts just south of Wallowa State Park. Parking is free and there are outhouses and picnic tables right near the parking. The Parking can fill up on popular weekends. Permits for the trail are at the trail head.
Wallowa Lake Trail head: 45.267683,-117.212749
Ice Lake: 45.229871,-117.272358
Matterhorn Peak: 45.228212, -117.298131
Sacajawea Peak: 45.24487,-117.292377
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Please comment below to share your experience hiking to Ice Lake or climbing Sacajawea or the Matterhorn. Don’t forget to register to receive the Travel Tom’s Newsletter by submitting your email in the bar above.