• Activities:

    Camping, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    7.8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1300 Feet

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Scenic hike through a glacial canyon to a pair of glass-like alpine lakes. Expect wildflowers and rocky basalt bluffs as well as lush forests.

Starting at 6,490' in elevation, you get to experience all the benefits of hiking high up in the Eagle Cap Wilderness without the long, steep ascents typically found in the Wallowa Mountains.

The trail starts in a forest that burned in a 1989 fire. You will soon reach your first of many stream crossings, look for a large log that allows you to cross Big Sheep Creek with dry feet. At the next few junctions, keep left. At the 2.3 mile mark, you will reach a fork which is the start of the Imnaha Divide Loop. Go right, following the "East Fork Wallowa River" pointer. Take this main trail through forests, over 4 more creek crossings,  and up a rocky hillside following the rushing middle fork of Big Sheep Creek. At 3.9 miles, you will break out of the trees to lower Bonny Lake. Take some photos here then continue on the trail wich passes between the two lakes. Upper Bonny Lake will soon reveal itself, cross the stream that connects the two lakes and continue a few hundred yards through a marble outcrop. There are a few campsites along Upper Bonny and camps must be 100 yards from the banks of the lake. With meadows to the West of the lake, it's very likely you will wake to the sights and sounds of grazing Elk herds.

Getting to the Tenderfoot Trailhead:

In Joseph, OR, travel east on Imnaha Hwy 350 for 8 miles. Turn right onto National Forest Development Rd./Wallowa Mountain Loop and follow for 8.6 miles. Take a right on NF-39/Wallowa Mountain Loop, follow for 4 miles. Just after passing a concrete bridge where the road crosses a creek, take a sharp right onto the gravel road NF-100, follow for 3.2 miles to the Tenderfoot Trailhead. This is a single car road that is slow-going most of the way, branches scraping by at times so keep an eye out for oncoming vehicles. 

Pack List

  • Ten Essential "Systems"
  • Camera
  • Stove
  • Water filtration system
  • Binoculars 
  • Swim suit?
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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