Wallowa Lake is in Joseph, Oregon.

Culture and History


Wallowa Lake has an enriched history dating back to the days when Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce inhabited the land. After the gold rush occurred (ultimately populating the wallowas), the government took back most of its land from the tribe. Angered by this action, some of the Nez Perce retaliated by slaying some whites nearby. This turned into a long battle between the two forces. Chief Joseph and his followers eventually surrendered, but were never able to return to the Wallowa Valley. A tribute to Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce is present all throughout Wallowa Lake and its surroundings. It is still marked as one of the most influential struggles between native tribes and the injustice of the United States government.


Wallowa Lake is known for its calm water and gorgeous sites. Surrounded by mountains the lake is quiet and secluded. Wallowa Lake is known for being entrance to the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, and is often referred to as, "The Switzerland of America". Wallowa Lake is approximately 5 miles long and 1 mile wide (8 km by 1.6 km). The depth of the lake reaches 283 feet (86 m). The lake is surrounded by cabin homes on the west side, Wallowa Lake State Park on the south side, and the Wallowa Lake Highway on both the north and eastside.

Flora and fauna

Wallowa Lake is surrounded by true beauty. Various animals inhabit the area, but the most amazing sight to see is the large amount of does and bucks the Wallowas has. Chipmunks surround the landscape, and are famous for their grabby little hands and big cheeks on top of Mount Howard. The mountain located next to the lake is great place for sight seeing and be able to feed the chipmunks.

The lake is also surrounded by many pines. One pine in particular was found in the surrounding Wallowa Mountains. Pinus contorta, 'Chief Joseph', is a dwarf pine that is very rare and is known for its drastic change from green in the summer to bright gold in the winter time.


There is a great variance in the weather at Wallowa Lake. During the summer months of July and August the average temp on the lake is about mid 70's. Thunderstorms are very standard in the spring and summer. During the winter months, the temperature dips into the 30's on average. The best time to visit is in the summer time, this is when water sports are at their best and the Wallowa tram is up and running.

Travel to Wallowa Lake - Visa Requirements

The easiest way to get in to Wallowa Lake is through Joseph, Oregon. Follow Main street south though town until you reach 8th street. Go left onto 8th street (which turns into Joseph-Wallowa Lake Hwy) and follow this road around Wallowa Lake.


Tours and Getting around Wallowa Lake

Visit the nearby town of Joseph and enjoy a nice day of shopping, dining, or even bowling.

Wallowa Lake tourist attractions and sightseeing

Chief Joseph Days is a great time to visit Wallowa Lake. Usually the last week of July, town festivities occur, parades, rodeos, and reenactments of the famous Joseph bank robbery.

Wallowa County Museum: Gives a detailed history of the Wallowas and the Nez Perce.

Wallowa Lake city tours

Wallowa Lake Tramway[1]: The tram operates June through September, and is located on the south side of the lake. The tram takes you to the top of Mount Howard where many hiking trails are located. The view is amazing and it is a great way to spend the day, hiking, eating at the Summit Grill, and feeding all the chipmunks.

Scenic Meadows Go Carts: Enjoyable for the whole family just up the road from the state park. Nice track with other activities there as well.

Joe's Place Pizza & Bumper Boats: Located right across the street from the Wallowa Lake Lodge, this fun center offers bumper boats, mini golf, croquet, an arcade, pizza, and an ice cream shop.

Parasailing: During the summer months parasailing is offered during the day if the wind is cooperating. This is an adventure but a great way to get a nice view of the lake.

Wallowa Lake souvenirs and shopping

Matterhorn Swiss Village: Located on the south side of the lake. Wonderful gift shop; sells clothing, jewelry, miscellaneous items, coffee, and ice cream.

Mad Mary's: Located in Joseph about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the lake itself. Gift shop is filled with many different themed rooms and has a wide variety of items.

Wallowa Lake Restaurants: cheap, moderate and expensive

Russell's at the Lake: American cuisine. Great place to take the whole family.

Vali's Alpine Delicatessen: Hungarian cuisine. Reservations only. Only serves one entree a night.

Wallowa Lake Lodge: Serves Breakfast and Dinner. Gourmet American cuisine.

Summit Grill: Located on the top of Mount Howard. Great place to stop in for lunch.

Wallowa Lake nightlife, bars, clubs and pubs

Wallowa Lake cheap and luxurious hotels, youth hostels and lodging


[2] Wallowa Lake Lodge

Matterhorn Swiss Village

Wallowa Lake Resort

Wallowa Lake Rentals .com [3]


Wallowa Lake State Park

Scenic Meadows RV Park

Park at the River


Learn More

Learn more about Wallowa Lake, places you can stay and other activities at www.wallowalake.net [4]

This page was last edited by Eric Polk. Based on work by bret overbaugh, Wikitravel user(s) Cacahuate and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. - Content on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license

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