As summer brings intolerable heat, nothing feels better than a refreshing dip in the cool water. Located a few miles south of the city of Joseph, Wallowa Lake is not only stunning due to its pristine clear cool waters, but also because of tall snow-covered mountains that are encircled it on three sides.
The lake had been created due to the Pleistocene glaciation when huge moraines impounded the lake creating a beautiful backdrop for the crystal clear water of the lake to shine through. The calm waters of the lake make it an ideal spot for canoeing and paddleboarding. There are boat launches, docks, and beaches at either end of the lake. The lake is also open for swimming but the water is cold even at the peak of the summer.
The best place to enjoy dipping into the refreshing water is Wallowa Lake State Park with a campground and a large day-use area featuring a sandy beach, fishing spots, picnic tables, and reservable picnic areas.
The Wallowa Lake Trailhead provides an opportunity to enjoy majestic flora such as Douglas Fir, Aspens, Ponderosa Pine, and ancient cottonwoods. A small half a mile-long hike from the lake takes hikers to the Iwetemlaykin Heritage Park, nestled within the sacred land of the Nez Perce Tribe.
One of the features of the area is the tram that will bring you to the top of 8,150-foot Mount Howard. Explore the trails on the top of the mountain and have lunch at the Summit Grill restaurant.
Wallowa Lake | General Description
Managed: Oregon State Park
Location: Wallowa Lake State Park
Services: Flush restrooms, drinking water, garbage service, fishing docks, boat ramps, picnic sites, and boat ramps
Activities: Swimming, watersports, hiking, biking, fishing, and boating
Accommodations: Campgrounds, resorts, and lodges
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: None
Dogs: Must be on a leash
Popularity: Moderate to high
Elevation: 4,000 ft (1,219 m)
Wallowa Lake is located:
- 12 miles south of Enterprise
- 76 miles east of La Grande
- 335 miles east of Portland.