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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Wildhorse Lake Trail, OR

no permit
29 3 0
Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List OR > Southeast
5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,507 feet
Elevation Gain -1,011 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 - 3 hr
Kokopelli Seeds 7.56
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
15  2018-07-27 Steph_and_Blake
7  2017-06-30 arizona_water
7  2011-08-25 Supden
Author Steph_and_Blake
author avatar Guides 98
Routes 59
Photos 2,511
Trips 175 map ( 749 miles )
Age 70 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Aug, Sep → Any
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:33am - 6:06pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
plop down & enjoy a snack
by Steph_and_Blake

Likely In-Season!
A moderate hike into a bowl of wildflowers ends at the shores of a clear, pristine lake.

Nearly all of the hike to the lake is steep and on unstable ground. It took us longer to descend to the lake than it did to get back up to the trailhead.

The Hike
From the unsigned trailhead head west down an old Jeep road to the trail register. Sign in and take a left to the rim of Wildhorse Canyon. The trail traverses the canyon wall for a short while before the switchbacks begin. The switchbacks aren’t very steep, but the trail is dusty and/or gravel-laden so the going is slow.

To make up for the tedium of the watching every step, there are an endless number of wildflowers to behold. You might not look up much to see the glistening lake, but you’ll surely stop numerous times to admire the gently swaying sea of reds, blues, pinks, yellows, and whites.

About three-quarters of the way to the lake a couple of small, babbling streams parallel the trail. Here the wildflowers become more varied and abundant. Eventually the trail levels out and within 100 yards you’ll come to the shores of the lake. Plop down, enjoy a snack, and regret not having brought your fishing gear.
Return the way you came.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-08-01 Steph_and_Blake
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Wildhorse Lake Trail
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5

    I met my friend, Jared, at his sister's house in Sisters, Oregon. (That's always a fun one to explain!)
    We left early the next morning for Steens Mountain Wilderness. This is a special place in southeastern Oregon, on the NV border, that we had both been to before. In high school, our cross country team came out to Steens Mountain for a week long training camp. For Oregon, it's "high elevation" with a summit elevation of 9,738ft. At the time, running 20-30 miles/day off trail at elevation was challenging and fun. Jared and I wanted to go back to the Steens area and explore some of our favorite places.

    We setup camp in the afternoon and then made our way to the Wildhorse Lake Trail, which starts at the true summit of the mountain. We enjoyed the amazing weather and cool glacier views on the descent down to Wildhorse Basin. As the shadows lengthened, the lighting over the lake grew worse, preventing me from capturing the lake the way I had remembered it nine years prior.

    The trail down to the lake is steep up top. This year's high snow volume had left much of the upper trail covered in ice, or just slippery from runoff. Eventually, the trail leveled out a bit, and we crossed one more snow field.
    There are some amazing views of the Alvord Desert on the descent to the lake.

    This are was settled by Basque immigrants. They said it reminded them of the Pyrenees Mountains. I can see the resemblance.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Frenchglen, Oregon:

    Take OR-205 South. Turn left onto Steens Mountain Loop Road. Drive approximately 27 miles. Follow signs to Wildhorse Lake.
    page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Aug 01 2018 12:06 pm
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