Wallowa Lake was formed by successive ice age glaciation that carried down rocks and gravel forming the twin and terminal moraines. The East Moraine is considered a near perfect example geologically and thus far has escaped most development. The East and West Forks of the Wallowa River feed the lake with crystal clear snow melt, making the temperature unbearable to most swimmers until mid july. Locals like to joke as they jump in, that the water was snow five minutes ago. Really, after a few weeks of hot weather the water is refreshing and tolerable. The clear, cold water gives the lake a wonderful deep-blue color that beckons most photographers.
The Lake is about 3 3/4 miles long by just over 3/4 mile wide with a depth of 299'. West side access is limited, but a great day-use facility on the north, and State Campground on the south provide boat ramps, picnic tables and restrooms. East side access includes several pull-outs and a spur road. Access from there is good but getting to the lake is steep and rocky and should not be attempted unless your fit.
Kokanee fishing improves, depending on weather, around Mothers Day. Trout is stocked several times through the season and Mackinaw to 38 pounds have been landed.
This panorama was taken from the east side about 1/2 mile south of the Park on the north end of the lake. Chief Joseph Mountain is at mid point, and Bonneville Mountain can be seen looking south (left). Bonneville splits the Wallowa River (shown right )into the East & West Forks. At its base lays the Wallowa Lake Trailhead. Also at the south end is the resort town of Wallowa Lake.