Pine Lakes


Forest Service Trail #1880

Why? Great camping spot off the Cliff Creek Trail

Season: Mid-July through September

Ease: Moderate. The Pine Lakes are 3.4 miles, 160 feet up and 500 feet down from the Cliff Creek Trail.

The Pine Lakes are beautifully set in a bowl above the West Fork Pine Creek, with Granite Mountain on the north and Cornucopia Peak on the south. Both peaks are visions in the usual brown and white Wallowa rock. There’s lots of green and lots of trees, not surprisingly most of the latter pine.

On the way down to the lakes and back up, we were treated to the two finest blues in the world in the form of gentian and mountain bluebirds. At the lake we were captivated by an enormous number of tiny frogs, with bodies maybe a half inch each, who inhabited the shoreline. Great care was taken any time we went toward the water.

The camping at Pine Lakes, on the narrow strip of land that separates the lower two lakes, is particularly fine. It’d make a good destination for a couple of days of r and r.

Directions: The Pine Lakes Trail leaves the Cliff Creek Trail shortly before Tuck Saddle, a bit less than 5 miles from its trailhead at Summit Point. Note that this is south of where the junction is noted on the maps and that the junction is not marked.

Information: 2U.S. Forest Service Wallowa Mountains Visitors Services, Joseph, OR, (541) 426-5546.

Maps: USGS Cornucopia and Krag Peak, Oregon; Imus Geographics Wallowa Mountains, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon.