Wildhorse Lake Trail

Steens Mountain Wilderness Area, Oregon 97910

Elevation Gain1,154ft
Trailhead Elevation8,434ft
Elevation Min/Max8434/9413ft
Elevation Start/End8434/8434ft

Wildhorse Lake Trail

Wildhorse Lake Trail is a hiking trail in Harney County, Oregon. It is within Steens Mountain Wilderness Area. It is 1.1 miles long and begins at 8,434 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,154 feet.

Wildhorse Lake Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Everything about Wildhorse Lake and the Steens Mountain summit is spectacular, starting with the drive to the trailhead. Although this chapter focuses on Wildhorse Lake, make sure to visit the mountain’s 9,733-foot summit.

The trail to Wildhorse Lake begins at a mountaintop parking area and heads downhill on an old road to an overlook of almost unbelievable beauty. The lake shimmers in a multicolored basin with massive, jagged cliffs dropping thousands of feet onto the desert floor just beyond the lake.

The real hike begins at that overlook. A trail skirts the edge of the rock face and zigzags down into the basin. There are two sets of very steep switchbacks. Gradually the trail becomes easier and follows a small creek into a basin blossoming with wildflowers in colors of orange, yellow, purple, and blue. The rocks and meadows make nice places to explore. The surrounding cliffs feature no lack of wonderful nooks and crannies."

"One of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Oregon is, paradoxically, surrounded by desert. Sparkling Wildhorse Lake fills a dramatic glacial cirque below the summit of Steens Mountain, and although sagebrush-covered hills can be seen in every direction, the snowfields and alpine splendor of this lake set it well apart from that desolate landscape.

A short but strenuous trail reaches this mountain gem, and the beauty is well worth the long drive and tiring climb back out. Be aware that with a trailhead at almost 9500 feet, the air is noticeably thinner here than on most Oregon hikes."

Wildhorse Lake Trail Reviews

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Wildhorse Lake Trail Photos

Trail Information

Steens Mountain Wilderness Area
Nearby City
Steens Mountain Wilderness Area
BLM Burns Office: (541) 573-4400; Frenchglen Historic Hotel: (541) 493-2825
Local Contacts
USGS Wildhorse Lake; BLM Burns District (south); Steens High Desert Country
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018