Backpacking Oregon: Eagle Cap Wilderness – Ice Lake

Backpacking Oregon: Eagle Cap Wilderness – Ice Lake

We ventured back into the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and Eagle Cap Wilderness again and this time, we weren’t stopped by snow. We’ve had some really warm temps these past few weeks and got a good ranger report, so into the wild we went. 

This time, our destination was Ice Lake. The trailhead starts at 4,600 feet and ends at 7,849 feet 8.1 miles later. The first 3 miles of the trail is heavily used by horses, so there’s a lot of poop. Horse poop is not my favorite thing. Come to think of it, I’m not a big fan of any poop, but I digress.

After the horse-pooped part of the trail, the real climbing begins. As J is pointing out in the picture below, we were going to the source of that waterfall.

With all the snowmelt, the wildflowers were so abundant. My wildflower book couldn’t quite keep up with the variety. 

Ice Lake is the deepest lake in the Wallowas (190 feet) with plentiful fishing opportunities. We didn’t swim (too frigid!) or fish. We just enjoyed the scenery, as the lake is surrounded by Matterhorn and Sacajawea peaks (the tallest in the Wallowas). 

Besides having a “room” with a view, 3 other exciting things happened on this trip.
#1 – A deer was playing hide and go seek with us at camp. Peeking around trees and going nuts. You could tell the deer was very used to people. So much for keeping wildlife wild.

#2 – I beat J twice in a row at the Bean Game.

#3 – We are pretty certain we spotted a wolf and some pups on the trail. No picture, because, well, A WOLF!

We should be able to head out for another overnighter this week as well. Checking the alpine lakes in the Eagle Caps off our list!

2 responses to “Backpacking Oregon: Eagle Cap Wilderness – Ice Lake”

  1. Camie Goffi says:


  2. anonymous says:

    Hiked to Ice Lake in September 2012, before the bridge was replaced. Good to see the new one!

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