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Southern High Lakes Tour Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A high Lakes route circling around Upper Minam with beautiful but less traveled lakes.


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Map Key

59.4

Miles

95.6

KM

Loop

8,583' 2,616 m

High

4,900' 1,493 m

Low

14,593' 4,448 m

Up

14,591' 4,447 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

62%

Max Grade (32°)

Dogs Unknown

Overview

Off the main lakes basin route get a sampler of the Wallowa's with the High lakes along Tombstone Lake Trail #1943 and West Eagle Trail #1934 as well as a dip into the Minam River Trail #1673 and the beautiful Swamp, Long, Steamboat lakes along North Minam Trail #1675 and then travel through the absolutely stunning Copper Creek Trail #1656 with amazing meadows. A fair bit of up and down with a couple long/steep ascents make this a more challenging hike.

Description

Heading up the West Eagle Trail #1934 before you split off on Tombstone Lake Trail #1943 you'll travel through beautiful West Eagle Meadow then face a steep ascent through a burn to get to ridge overlooking Tombstone Lake. The view from top of ridge is stunning with near straight down view into Tombstone.

Then descend into Minam river basin. Fill up on water to start up Granite Trail #1676 a long, steep ascent. It travels through a burn from 2019 that is actually good to see, a burn that did not burn all the trees but just the understory in many places so a more natural burn. The granite basin opens up into a beautiful set of meadows, views with a couple interesting mini-lakes above you on the left on the way up. Camping spots near the top afford a view back into the high ridge/peaks you came out of.

Then head into Swamp lake with an amazing flat-top set of rolling meadows before you descend. Long lake, swamp, steamboard provide large lakes that are beautiful and less visited. While camping near swamp many Mountain goats were browsing nearby.

The Copper Creek Trail #1656 down into Lostine river canyon is stunning, with amazing meadows and views and a meandering creek. Worth a stop and lunch along its banks.

Start up the West Fork Lostine River Trail #1670 to Minam lake, a very, very well traveled route with very well developed trail. Before you get to Minam lake you have a couple of miles of nearly flat glacial valley bottom that is flat with large meadows. Minam lake itself gets you into Lakes basin management area, and larger number of people. A great side trip to Blue Lake Trail #1673A if you wish.

Descending into Minam River Trail #1673 gets you out of the crowds of lakes basin. A long descent before you go up the Main Eagle Trail #1922, the first few miles gradually as you climb out of Minam through forest's of Huckleberries. Then turning up towards Traverse lake on West Eagle Trail #1934 gets you onto a rarely used trail the last few miles of which are stunning switchbacks and steep ascent but absolute pay-off at saddle ridge crest of amazing views.

Shared By:

Aaron Raddon

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2033

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#54

in Oregon

#2,033

Overall
22 Views Last Month
40 Since Sep 2, 2021
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Almost to Echo Lake
Aug 12, 2018 near Union, OR
Looking North near Wonker Pass
Jun 26, 2020 near Joseph, OR
Traverse Lake.
Sep 2, 2021 near Joseph, OR
View down Eagle Creek
Aug 12, 2018 near Union, OR
Tombstone Lake (Smoke from wildfires in California).
Aug 19, 2021 near Union, OR
Minam Lake.
Sep 19, 2016 near Joseph, OR

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Aug 14, 2021
Aaron Raddon