Down at the south end of Wallowa Lake, you'll find Wallowa Lake State Park (tel. 541/432-4185; www.oregon.gov/oprd/parks), where there is a swimming beach, picnic area, and campground. Adjacent to the park is the Wallowa Lake Marina (tel. 541/432-9115; www.wallowalakemarina.com), where you can rent canoes, rowboats, paddleboats, and motorboats (first weekend in May to mid-Sept). This end of the lake has an old-fashioned mountain-resort feel, with pony and kiddy rides, go-cart tracks, miniature golf courses, and the like. It is also the trail head for several trails into the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The park is home to numerous large deer, which have become accustomed to begging for handouts from campers. Although the deer are entertaining, they are still wild animals and can be dangerous.
For a different perspective on the lake, ride the Wallowa Lake Tramway, 59919 Wallowa Lake Hwy., Joseph (tel. 541/432-5331; www.wallowalaketramway.com), to the top of 8,200-foot Mount Howard. This is the steepest tramway in America and provides great views both from the gondolas and from the summit of Mount Howard. The views take in Wallowa Lake and the surrounding jagged peaks. The tramway operates between Memorial Day and late September daily from 10am to 4pm; the fare is $24 for adults, $21 for seniors, $18 for students 12 to 17, and $14 for children 4 to 11. Food is available at the Summit Grill & Alpine Patio.
Because most hikes on the north side of the Wallowas start out in valleys and can take up to a dozen miles or so to reach the alpine meadows of the higher elevations, there aren't a lot of great day hikes here. The backpacking, however, is excellent. If you're looking for day hikes, try taking the tramway to the top of Mount Howard, where great views unfold on the 2 miles of easy walking trails. If you'd like to head into the Eagle Cap Wilderness to the popular Lakes Basin or anywhere else in the Wallowas, you'll find the trail head less than a mile past the south end of the lake. For more information on hiking in the Wallowas, contact the Wallowa Valley Ranger Station, 88401 Ore. 82, Enterprise, OR 97828 (tel. 541/426-4978; www.fs.fed.us/r6/w-w). This ranger station also serves as the Wallowa Mountains Visitor Center and has interesting displays on the flora and fauna of the region.
Horse packing into the Wallowas is a popular activity, and rides of a day or longer can be arranged through Eagle Cap Wilderness Pack Station, 59761 Wallowa Lake Hwy., Joseph, OR 97846 (tel. 800/681-6222 or 541/432-4145; www.eaglecapwildernesspackstation.com), which offers trips into the Eagle Cap Wilderness during the summer. These stables also offer hourly, half-day, and full-day rides.
This region also offers some of the best trout fishing in Oregon, and if you're looking for a guide to take you to the best holes, contact Eagle Cap Fishing Guides, P.O. Box 865, Joseph, OR 97846 (tel. 800/940-3688; www.eaglecapfishing.com), or Winding Waters River Expeditions, P.O. Box 566, Joseph, OR 97846 (tel. 877/426-7238 or 541/432-0747; www.windingwatersrafting.com). Expect to pay anywhere from $385 to $400 for a day of fishing for one or two people. For fishing supplies, stop by the Joseph Fly Shoppe, 203 N. Main St., Joseph, OR 97846 (tel. 541/432-4343; www.josephflyshop.com).
In winter the Wallowas are popular with cross-country and backcountry skiers. Check at the ranger station in Enterprise for directions to trails. You'll also find a small downhill ski area and groomed cross-country trails at Ferguson Ridge (www.skifergi.com), which is 9 miles southeast of Joseph on Tucker Down Road.
Wing Ridge Ski Tours, P.O. Box 714, Joseph, OR 97846 (tel. 800/646-9050 or 541/432-0712; www.wingski.com), rents backcountry huts for $40 to $45 per person per night. This company also offers a guide service.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.