This is a trail that can be made short or long as you like and offers great views of Wallowa Lake within the first mile. It ultimately leads up to the top of Chief Joseph Mountain, a strenuous hike indeed.
This guide covers just the first part of the trail up to the second footbridge and back again with an optional side trip down to a lookout over Wallowa Lake and the convergence of two whitewater streams. The whole thing, round-trip, is about 3 miles and is not too hard and good for a casual hike. It's also especially fun for kids* and they'll feel like Indiana Jones finding treasure if you take note of some of the odd rock features you'll find in the gallery. Good luck on your hunt!
*Just keep a close eye on your kids and leash your doggie as there are steep drop-offs along the side-trip portion of the trail that heads down to the convergence/lookout.
Take the West Fork trail at the Wallowa lake Trailhead and continue to the Chief Joseph Trail junction about 1/4 mile ahead. Go left upriver to the bridge and after a short distance the trail switchbacks to the north where you’ll find views of the lake. At a little over a half-mile you’ll encounter BC Falls which has a unique footbridge over a waterfall. It makes for a great final destination. The trail continues on for another 6.5 miles to a meadow in a saddle at the base of Chief Joseph Mountain at 7620’.
Be on the lookout for Pica, Mountain Goats, Mule Deer and the occasional Elk. Rubber Boa's and Western Toads are often found on the lower trail as well. Please, please, please! - leave wild creatures in their home. Kids especially want to take the Boas and Toads home and we see less and less of them every year.
This is an extraordinary spot with possibilities to explore or summit. Wildflowers abound in mid-June and the alpine setting will have you feeling like you should be singing in a musical. The views are awesome making it very hard to leave.
The gallery has photo captions that guide you on this special hike-