Route: Little Wildhorse Lakes Loop (OR)

Oregon, US
8.5 mi

Dave Kofranek submitted this 8.5-mile off-trail loop (approx 2500' elevation gain):

This route loops Little Wildhorse Lake and Wildhorse Lake proper via their drainages.

Directions: from the parking lot, just below the summit of Steens Mtn, this route follows the trail along a ridge for about ¼ mile to a trail junction. Continue west to Little Wildhorse Lake. The trail soon disappeared and great caution was taken traversing along the knife-edge ridge (Zone 11 T E: 369337 N: 4721489 NAD 83) to the south-facing tarn, Little Wildhorse Lake (E: 369008 N: 4720988).

Follow the drainage of this lake all the way down to where it joins the Wildhorse Lake Canyon, about 2+ miles. Continue up the canyon to Wildhorse Lake proper (E: 369792 N: 4720707), regain the trail, and return to parking lot.

All but 1½ miles of this route is cross country through sage scrub, along dry creek beds, thickly vegetated springs with stinging nettles, and talus some of which had obscured footing by overgrown vegetation. 


There were two new records for the state collected on this hike (8-24-17), the mosses Sarmentypnum trichophyllum and Didymodon bistratosus. - D. Kofranek.