Wallowa Mountains - North Bowman Area

In mid-September I planned a trip to the Wallowa Mountains in northeast Oregon, to go up the West Fork of the Wallowa River. But there was a fire there so I had to relocate and chose the Bowman trailhead about 30 miles away. There is a popular loop here but I had done the southern parts of it a few years back, so decided to just explore around the north side. There are a number of spur trails that leave the main loop trail, so it is well suited to shorter backpack days combined with dayhikes up these spurs.

Nights were cold - usually in the 30s - and the days were mostly warm and solid sun.

The trail leaves the Lostine River at 5200' and heads gradually uphill. This is the view across the canyon. The Frances Lake trail goes up that ridge and drops to the lake on the other side.

After about 4 miles and 2000' gain, you come to a junction which I turned right at.

Shortly after the turn is Laverty Lakes

Less than a half mile later is Chimney Lake at 7600', where I set up camp

After relaxing a bit, I headed up on the trail that you can barely see contouring across above Chimney Lake. At the pass above, I turned left on the unsigned trail for Hobo Lake. I was later told that I only went to Little Hobo Lake and another bigger Hobo Lake was just above.

Returning to the main trial, I continued down the other side of the pass towards Wood Lake, a mile further. There are huge green meadows on the south side of the lake.

Which lead directly to the lake

The next day I returned to Brownie Basin, which must have it's own good camps.

and hiked over a pass into Wilson Basin, where there are more meadows. This one leads to John Henry Lake. But it is very marshy and wet.

Further down Wilson Basin and the trail drops off towards North Minam Meadows

Which you gradually and eventually descend to

The next goal was to hike up to remote Green Lake. But the trail was not marked. It took me an hour to find the right trail where it leaves the North Minam Trail. This is the junction:

3.5 miles later you reach Green Lake, the end of that trail and so not often visited by hikers

After a pleasant night with Green Lake I retraced by steps to Wilson Basin and set up camp near the lower end next to yet another meadow. The picture is where I initially set up camp. But note the tree on the left. This tree is (1) Dead, (2) Cracked up it's entire length, and (3) leaning towards my tent. Trees falling on campers and killing them is not all that rare. Although it was not windy, I decided to move my camp a little ways.

Later I headed up the Bear Creek Trail and had this view down into Wilson Basin.

As I neared a pass where Bear Creek starts, there were yet more nice alpine meadows to the left.

These meadows continued to the junction with the Washboard Ridge Trail. It turns left here according to the sign but there is no trail visible in the meadow.

Bear Creek was straight ahead, but instead I turned right onto an obvious trail going up to Bear Lake (8000'), a half mile or so up.

This was a very nice spot for a break and I saw a Clark's Nutcracker

That was it. I returned to camp and hiked out the next morning. I spent that night at the historic Wallowa Lake Lodge.