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Hiking in the Wallowa Mountains

Maxwell Lake in the High Wallowa Mountains from the Lostine River Road.  This year Maxwell Lake was still snowed in during July.Summer 2011 is going down as the year of late hiking in the Wallowa Mountains.  Seems like the late snows are affecting quite a few of the trails.  Last week one of our guests changed her plans about hiking to Ice Lake because the bridge was removed and the Wallowa River is too high for comfortable fording.  The week before that some of our guests hiked to Maxwell Lake, only to discover that it’s still snowed in–and it’s almost August!

I was reminded of this when I read this article at the East Oregonian website earlier today:

Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2011 12:05 am

BAKER — Downed trees block many trails in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest because of last’s year’s heavy snowfall and strong winds.

Forest trail crews and volunteers are working in priority areas but late snow and high creek crossings have made some trails difficult to access. 

Several lower elevation trails in the Wallowa Mountains are open and have been cleared. Within the Lostine River corridor, Bowman trail 1651 to John Henry Lake and trail 1674 to Maxwell Lake are clear. The South Fork Imnaha trail 1816 has been cleared to the junction with the North Fork Imnaha trail 1814 and the West Fork Wallowa River trail 1820 is open to Six Mile meadow.

Many lower elevation trails in the Elkhorn Mountains are now free of snow, however blow-down from winter storms remains on several trails.

Visitors should use caution while traveling on unmaintained trails. Many high lakes are partially frozen and several trails remain snow-covered.

To check the most up-to-date trail conditions, visit the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman.

—Erin Mills

If you’re thinking about coming out to Wallowa Lake or Joseph Oregon for hiking in the Wallowas there are still plenty of places to hike.  We keep trail maps, hiking guides, etc. for our Joseph Oregon bed and breakfast guests.  And hopefully you won’t need any snowshoes this summer!

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