Getting to the tram station for access to Aneroid Mountain is fairly simple. First, take the Hwy 82 exit from I-84 in La Grande and head east. Hwy 82 is a good highway that passes through several small towns on your way to Joseph and Wallowa Lake. Mind your speed in the small towns. In about 70 miles you pass through Joseph and continue on to Wallowa Lake. Stay on the east side of the lake and follow the signs to the tram station that is right next to the highway near Wallowa Lake State Park. Go to Tramway
for the schedule and all information about the tramway itself. As of September 18, 2005 it cost $19 for an adult ride.
To access Aneroid Mountain via the tram and go back down the tram when you are finished, you have to go early and move right along. After you pay your $19 and catch the 10:00AM first car up the tram, you get to relax while the tram takes you to the top of Mt. Howard and you ascend about 3,700 ft. in 15 minutes. The views are great, so sit back and enjoy them.
Once on top, you can quickly locate the summit of Mt. Howard within a couple hundred yards of the restaurant. Tag this one if you are so inclined. From the summit you can see East Peak to you south and a trail down below on the saddle between Mt. Howard and East Peak. Go down and follow the trail south.
As you get close to East Peak the trail splits. The upper trail goes up to the ridge and then follows the ridge to the summit. The lower trail traverses around the east side of East Peak and the joins the upper trail in the saddle between East Peak and Hidden Peak. If you want to tag East Peak, take the upper trail. If not, traverse around East Peak to the saddle between East Peak and Hidden Peak.
The trail pretty much ends at this point, but there is a climbers path that continues along the ridge and up to the summit of Hidden Peak. Follow this and sign the register on the summit of Hidden Peak. You can see Aneroid about 2 miles further south at this point. The route is simple, just follow the ridgeline down to the saddle between Hidden Peak and Aneroid Mountain and then up to the summit of Aneroid. The route up looks fairly steep from Hidden, but it is not as steep as it looks. There is another register to sign on the summit of Aneroid.
The route back is to go back the same way you came. You have to climb all the way over the summit of Hidden Peak again, but you can traverse around East Peak. Hurry along an get back to the tram station before the last tram at 4:30PM.
It took me about 5 ¾ hours and my GPS said the total hike was 12.5 mile with 3,500ft of Elevation Gain. I was hurrying along because I didn’t want to miss the last tram down the mountain.
I did this route in September and there was no snow on the ground. There is a restaurant at the top of the tram, so you don’t even have to bring your lunch. However, since the hike takes about 6 hours, I took some food with me and all the water I needed. There is no water along this route. Bring lots of film for your camera because the views are fantastic.
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