Let's have some fun!
Wallowa Lake, while cold, offers a great place for skiers and boarders due to its light use and calm surface conditions. Swimming is especially nice, knowing you’re in some of the cleanest water anywhere. Paddlers find a special treat watching fish in the clear water below their craft as they slip along rocky shores. All visitors enjoy the scenery.
The Eagle Cap Wilderness offers some of the most satisfying trekking experiences in the U.S. With over 500 miles of marked trails and 52 lakes, there's always something spectacular to discover. Travel a little farther outside the wilderness and you'll find plenty of forest service trails worthy your time. For those who enjoy the outdoors, Wallowa County is a wonderland.
Wallowa Lake is now the world-record holder for Kokanee and also holds eight state records. If you've never enjoyed Kokanee, imagine Salmon, only grown in sweet fresh water. Of course there's stocked trout by the thousands and the real monsters, the Mackinaw, but it takes a studied and persistent fisherman to catch them. Get the latest fishing news at the Wallowa Lake Marina.
In the high mountain lakes and streams you'll find plenty of Eastern Brook Trout that are easy to catch before they spawn in midsummer, usually around the end of July.
The county's rivers also have one of the best Steelhead fisheries in the nation. When a productive fall run is on, its not unusual for fisherman to hook over 20 a day.
One thing that’s a must-do is the ride to the top of Mt. Howard on the Wallowa Lake Tramway. The ride itself is worth the ticket but the view, landscape and wildlife are priceless. We suggest you make a day of it and go early enough to enjoy lunch at the Summit Grill and Alpine Patio, which is really quite good. Call your friends and tell them you’re enjoying a lunch at the highest restaurant with the best view in Oregon!
The Wallowa Mountains are a rugged place and traveling by horseback is popular. Probably the greatest thing about traveling by horse is that you’re free to enjoy the scenery instead of paying attention to the trail. The Eagle Cap Packstation offers trusty steeds and supervised riding even to beginners. If you bring your own horse you'll find this area challenging and green horses probably should be left behind. The trails are rocky so make sure your horses are well shod and bring a easy-boot just in case.
The Village at Wallowa Lake has lots of fun stuff for kids to do when they get tired of being water-logged; they'll find go-carts, bumper boats and arcades. Miniature Golf makes a great activity for kids and adults to participate in together. The day use area has an expansive flat lawn area that's perfect for ball games, badminton or Frisbee. The State Park has an outdoor theater with wildlife shows.
The beautiful town of Joseph is also one of the largest bronze producing areas in the world. Lining Main Street you'll see many beautiful life-size sculptures of western and wildlife design. The local shops also carry many unique items from local Joseph Oregon Artists that you won't want to miss; a great place to find a unique gift.
Hells Canyon offers some of the wildest whitewater experiences in the nation and the best guided whitewater trips include exploration of Native American and early American historic sites. With Jet Boat Operators or Kayak and Raft Guides, you can take it as easy or as rough as you please. If you’re self sufficient and like roughing it, you can rent equipment and float the Grande Rhode River to Troy which is calmer and winds its way through beautiful road-less areas in pine and fir forests (plan 2-3 days). Experienced rafters also run the Salmon River, about 1 ½ hour drive from the lake.
This is a vast county with environments ranging from semi-arid desert to alpine and lots in between. It is home to The Nature Conservatory's Zumwalt Prairie; the nation’s largest intact grassland. For a fun day trip many visit the town of Imnaha and from there they take the hair raising drive up to Hat Point Lookout for a spectacular view of Hells Canyon.
Another place often overlooked by visitors is Blue Hole on the South Fork of the Imnaha River. It's about an hour and a half drive from Wallowa Lake through beautiful pine forest to the Indian Crossing Campground, a really great place to camp in somewhat primitive surroundings. Blue Hole is about a two mile walk from there. Don't forget your fishing pole and swim trunks!
If you have good maps and a GPS you could take years exploring all this area has to find.
Things in Wallowa County really slow down after fall but that doesn't mean the fun ends. Several miles to the east of Wallowa Lake is the Salt Creek Summit Snow-Park. There you'll find excellent snowmobiling and best of all, the area is uncrowded. Salt Creek Summit also has great non-motorized and marked cross-country loops for skiers, boarders and snowshoer's.
Outside Joseph is the ski area called Fergie. It's small with only a t-bar and rope-tow, but the relaxed and personable atmosphere makes it lots of fun, especially for kids.
For the intrepid the Eagle Cap offers snowshoeing and back-country skiing.
Winter is also a great time to come if you’re looking for peace and quiet- it might be just the cure for a frantic, noisy lifestyle.
Come join us at Wallowa Lake, Oregon’s hidden treasure.