Chief Joseph Trail #1803 - Wallowa Lake, Oregon

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2.08 miles (3.35 km)

Total Elev. Gain:
1,181 ft. (360 m)
Total Elev. Loss:
-720 ft. (-220 m)

Max Altitude:
5,269 ft. (1606 m)
Min Altitude:
4,795 ft. (1462 m)
by Brian Sather — Posted Thu, Oct 12, 2017
To add insult, after running Chief Joseph away they named a crappy trail after him. You would think a trail in such close proximity to a high-use area like Wallowa Lake Campground would be in better shape, but no one seems to be using it. It doesn't even take you to the top of the mountain that bears his name. Some locals must have disliked this trail so much they built an unofficial trail straight up the mountain and it crosses over this trail several times. This other one is a better option if you plan to climb the peak. The trail starts off of the West Fork Wallowa Trail about a 1/4 mile up and it in great shape up to a very nice footbridge across the river. Then it is still okay for a ways until you get to BC Creek, where it attempts to cross this rushing cascade. Since there is no bridge there, it may be very treacherous to cross. From there to the climbers trail it is in really rough shape. Right now this trail is just shown as a fragment, as I didn't follow it the entire way to the end because snow stopped me. I'll get it updated within the next year though. Trail Notes 0.0 mi. Trail starts to the right at a trail junction on the West Fork Wallowa Trail. 0.2 Footbridge across West Fork Wallowa River 0.9 Fording of BC Creek. 1.9 Primitive side trail that goes down to Wallowa Lake Campground 2.1 Climbers trail comes up from the marina.

 BC Creek Crossing — 45.269720, -117.222030

Footbridge across the West Fork Wallowa River
Trail starts to the right at this junction on the West Fork Wallowa Trail.

Cascade at BC Creek would be worth visiting but you probably don't want to go much farther on the other side of the trail.

Some maintenance has been done, but otherwise the trail is grown in with brush for a long stretch.
One side trail that heads down to the campground.
The climbers trail that comes up to the Chief Joseph Trail starts on the north side of this bridge in the pet exercise area near the marina and campground.