This loop starts and ends at the south end of Wallowa Lake, just south of Joseph, Oregon. This will take you through and past some of the best known highlights of the Wallowa Mountains, including the Lakes Basin and near Eagle Cap while going over two high passes. This isolated mountain range is full of greenery and glacier-carved valleys. The crux of the route is Polaris Pass, which can hold a tricky snow cornice on its north side well into June. Plenty of water along the whole route. While a summit of Eagle Cap is not included on this route, I would highly recommend the side trip off of Mirror Lake. If you want an even longer trip, add on the out and back up to Ice Lake on Trail #1808, and maybe even a summit of Matterhorn, the second tallest mountain in the range. If you have some mountaineering/climbing experience, you could even go for Sacajawea Peak, the highest point in Oregon outside of the Cascades at 9,839 feet.
Route includes West Fork Trail #1820, Lakes Basin Trail #1810, Glacier Lake Trail, back to the West Fork Trail (but now heading northbound), then take the right fork onto Polaris Trail #1831 (no signage here as of June 2018), and East Fork Trail #1804 will take you all the way back to the trailhead to complete the loop. Feel free to take the short alternate through the Lakes Basin on Horseshoe Lake Trail #1821, but I would highly recommend going between Douglas and Crescent Lakes instead of taking the shortcut along the south shore of Douglas Lake so you don't miss the amazing view of Eagle Cap across Mirror Lake.
Wild Idaho Endurance Challenge events are self/unsupported wilderness fun runs. No course markings, no aid stations, no set date or time. You can complete them by yourself at any time or with a friend or two. Routes must be completed on foot and in one push. The nice part is that there are no cutoffs, so if you find a lake where you want to take a dip or a special viewpoint that you want to sit and enjoy, there is no pressure! Please take photos and visit the Facebook or Instagram pages afterwards and share with us how it went with a short trip report! You can either self report your time on the honor system, or you can submit your Strava/Gaia/Garmin/Suunto etc track. Please visit the website for GPS/GPX tracks of your route. Finishers will have their time posted and will be given a small swag bag.
To get people out into the wonderful wilderness areas that we have here! Information isn't always readily available for these areas and maps can be scarce and not always reliable. That can intimidate some that aren't as experienced outdoors-people. The goal is to empower people to get out into these wilderness areas, to raise awareness of them, and hopefully to protect them into the future.
Local time: 3:50 AM
All profits from registration fees will be donated to the Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association.