The path up and over to Frances Lake is characterized by very long switchbacks and shallow gradients, too many to count. Some of the traverses hardly have any elevation gain, making for an excruciatingly long ascent that will be worth it when you get the view into this basin that is tucked in the Hurricane Divide. It is an awesomely barren landscape set in front of Twin Peaks and some really cool terrain that spills down to Frances Lake and some lower pools it feeds into.

It is more common for stock to travel to the lake, probably because of the physical difficulty and length.... Read more

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Ice Lake Trail #1808 - Wallowa Mountains, Joesph, Oregon

The trail is well built, and a popular ascent up to an alpine lake in the Wallowas. Other than a couple rocky sections, the trail surface is amazing and the incline is steady. It takes you up a beautiful canyon with a trip by a few cascades and waterfalls before it benches out in a basin. This serves as some brief respite before some climbing switchbacks on fabulous dirt up to a point where the trail wraps around a corner and you make a dramatic approach to a beautiful lake. The whole experience has a great awe factor if you can withstand the 8 mile, 3,500' climb from Wallowa Lake area. The trip couples the West Fork Wallowa and Ice Lake trails, which both have superb trail surfaces, and I was surprised what good time I was making running these trails...  
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Fake Creek Trail #1914 - Wallowa Mountains

Fake Creek Trail is mostly fake. While it exists on a map, in reality it is a concoction of bad practice in trail making. For starters, there is fake footbridge. Then there are many sections of fake trail and real trail which are difficult to discern. Presumably there existed and old moderate incline trail with switchbacks and then people came along and decided to go steeply up the mountain to avoid all the tree fall down across the trail. This brings up the topic of fake maintenance; there are many trees across the trail and in some places trees were cut out but not on the trail. This is really confusing because usually when I lose a trail the first thing I look for are cut logs to guide me back onto an old trail bed...  
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China Ridge Trail #1906 - Wallowa Mountains, Union, Oregon

China Ridge is a beautiful ridgetop trail with a nice view in all directions on the western side of the Wallowas. Burger and China Cap are the first peaks you get a nice look at, including the north wall of China Cap which is view-able on a good stretch of the trail after China Cap Pass. The trail serves as an excellent connector for a loop with Squaw Creek Trail and Elk Creek Trail or a more ambitious loop to North Fork Catherine Creek Trail. The trail starts off the Elk Creek Trail at a confusing intersection with no signage. The trail surface is in good shape given the limited traffic beyond China Cap Pass. Some use this trail to climb the peak and depart from the trail somewhere around or before the pass...  
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