Warm, sunny fall days are the perfect time to hit the trail at Strawberry Lake. (Photo credit: Eli Boschetto)

If fall is coming, nobody’s told Eastern Oregon. The warm, sunny days are the perfect time to hit the trail for late season wildflower meadows, deep forests and hidden alpine lakes. Check out these gorgeous hikes in scenic wilderness areas on the east side of the state.

Strawberry Lakes, Slide Falls (near John Day)
From the Strawberry Campground near Prairie City, 13 miles east of John Day, take the 4-mile, easy lollipop route up to and around Strawberry Lake. Push on a bit further to Little Strawberry Lake and add 2.6 miles to your hike. You can also access Slide Lake (8 miles roundtrip with a view of Slide Falls) and Strawberry Mountain (a difficult, 12.6-mile out and back) from the campground. Visit the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness U.S. Forest Service website for details.

Baldy Lake (near Baker City)
There are two options to reach the scenic blue-green waters of Baldy Lake just below the 8,321-foot peak of Mt. Ireland. An easy, 2.4-mile roundtrip trail is accessible by a rough road that deters all but high clearance vehicles. The easier road treats hikers to a challenging 12.6 miles through a lovely forest of pine, spruce and fir. Visit the Wallowa-Whitman U.S. Forest Service website for details.

Bonny Lakes, Dollar Lake (near Joseph)
Just a stone’s throw to the east of more trafficked Wallowa and Aneroid lakes, find three little alpine lakes and fewer people. From the Tenderfoot Trailhead, reach the small Upper and Lower Bonny lakes by way of a 7.8-mile, moderate round-trip route. Push on a bit further to Dollar Lake and add four miles. Visit the Wallowa-Eagle Cap Wilderness website for details.

Pines Lakes, Chute Falls (near Halfway)
Further south near the ghost town of Cornucopia, hike up to Pine Lakes, twin mountain pools at the base of Granite Mountain. It’s a 14.8-mile hike that follows Pine Creek. For a shorter, easier jaunt, check out the 4.2-mile round trip to Chute Falls. Visit the Wallowa-Eagle Cap Wilderness website for details.

Get out east and enjoy the fall trails!

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Jack Thomas says…

    The hike up to Ice Lake is awesome. 2500 ft. rise in 3 miles and two nice waterfalls.

    Written on October 8th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
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