Frances Lake

Hike to the rarely visited, beautiful Frances Lake, nestled in a high alpine basin below Hurricane Divide in Oregon's Wallowa Mountains. Ascend well-graded switchbacks over an 8,600 ft pass and descend 900 feet to the lake. Explore meadows, streams and tarns in the lake basin, enjoy birds near the trail and lake, and other wildlife on slopes of Hurricane Divide.

Getting There

Take Exit 261 (LaGrande) off of I-84 east and follow signs to OR-82 (Wallowa Lake). Drive OR-82 ~53 miles to Lostine. Near Lostine's east end and just before Blue Banana, a small unique looking blue  building, turn right onto Lostine River Road (paved then gravel) and drive 14 miles south to the Frances-Bowman Trailhead. U.S. Forest Service campgrounds are available along the Lostine River Road near the trailhead.

on the trail

Hike the Frances Lake Trail ascending well-graded switchbacks to the pass at 8,600 ft  and then descend 900 feet to the lake (7,680 ft). Explore meadows, streams and tarns in the lake basin. Look for birds—merlin, mountain bluebird, junco, rosy finch, water pipits—near the trail and lake. Look for mammals—mountain goat, deer, elk, bighorn sheep—on slopes of Hurricane Divide. Lake and stream fishing for trout is available.


  • Between trailhead and lake, water is scarce to non-existant. Carry water for a full day  and refill at the lake.
  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Length: 18.4 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,500 ft
  • 8,600 ft
  • Green Trails Wallowa Mountains No. 475SX
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