Enjoy hiking trails, mountain biking routes, canoeing, fishing and views of mountains on three sides of the park when in Wallowa State Park in eastern Oregon. Bird watching and wildlife observation opportunities are plentiful with over 200 species of native, migratory and accidental birds and many mammals like fox, black bear and mule-deer.
Wows and Woes
Views of the surrounding peaks are astonishing and give the park an intimate and warm feel. Hiking trails deep into the surrounding wilderness are relatively crowd free, making for quiet and peaceful hikes. Horse riding and packing is allowed on the trails and in the park and horse excrement is found along trails, making for a little bit of an unpleasant experience. Horse riders encountered were always courteous and friendly however. Ice goes out on the lake late each year (end of May) making it a frigid place to swim until July.
Wildlife watching for antelope is prime in the Keating and Whitney valleys. Bighorn sheep are frequently spotted in the area around Burnt River Canyon and the along the Snake River Road. Try catching chinook salmon with tied gnats at the downstream side of the Three Mile Dam during spring.
Wallowa State Park is a water filled gem in the dry and dusty side of the state. During the peak summer season, the park is worth a visit.
Author's Most Memorable Moment
I made the mistake of jumping into the barely ice-free lake in mid May, making me feel like a polar bear jumper. The hot cup of coffee waiting for me back at the camp made the dip perfect, if a bit chilly.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.