Eastern Oregon Lake Hikes
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 the Author: Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.
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