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Suggestions: Joseph, Oregon

Forks of Wallowa

Joseph Aerial by Sam Beebe CC BY 2.0.jpe

The East and West Fork Wallowa trails are the two of the most popular trails for visitors to the Eagle Cap Wilderness, offering fantastic views of craggy mountains, streams, and Wallowa Lake from well maintained paths. Many hikers head to the Lakes Basin, often the first choice destination for new visitors, but overuse continues to negatively impact the area. We recommend avoiding the crowds and choosing any of several other day hikes or multi-day backpacking itineraries. Travel out and back on either trail for a nice day trip. Capable hikers can make a loop by crossing the divide via the steep and rugged Polaris pass. Access  Wallowa Lake Trailhead, (the BMT terminus) at the South end of Wallowa Lake.  Parking can be congested in the summer season, so pile into one vehicle or grab a shuttle from town.

          Itinerary FAQs

Recreation Type - backpack, day hike, trail run

Mileage- 24 miles for full loop 

Duration - 1-3 days

Physical Difficulty (0-3)- 

Logistical Difficulty (0-3)-  1

Time of Year- July-September

Permits required- Free, self-issued Wilderness permits at the trailhead

BMT Databook Waypoints- S1001-S1005

See a Map Here

Check Trail Conditions Here West Fork 1820, East Fork 1804, and Polaris 1831

Conservation Connections


Eagle Cap Wilderness

why is wilderness important

Impacts of Recreation

RIMS download and ask

lakes basin 

Minimum impact practices

Alpine Ecology


White Bark Pine

U.S. Forest Service Offices

Eagle Cap Ranger District


Address and Phone Number: 201 E 2nd St, Joseph, OR 97846  541-426-5546

Hours: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday

Joseph Town Map 

 Full Town Guides for Joseph and Enterprise 

Photographs used for this page are all from Creative Commons unless otherwise noted. "Joseph, Oregon" by Sam Beebe is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of these licenses, visit

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