Crawfish Lake, North Fork of the John Day Wilderness, NE Oregon

Trail Name:  Crawfish Creek Trail (Crawfish Lake)

Trail Number: 1606


General Location: North Fork of the John Day Wilderness

 Nearest city: 
 Baker City, 40 miles- La Grande, 50 miles
 Nearest amenities: 
 ER- Baker City. Fuel-North Powder 21 miles. Food-small store, North Powder.
 Managing agency: 
 USFS, Wallowa Whitman National Forest, Whitman Ranger District
Type of Environment: 
Area Map: 

Crawfish Lake Map,
 Forest Service Topo Maps: (445211815: Crawfish Lake and 445211807: Anthony Lakes)
 USGS Map Downloader: (ID#6068897, Crawfish Lake, OR, 7.5x7.5, 2014 &
                                     ID#6069899, Anthony Lakes, OR, 7.5x7.5, 2014)
Information Links: 

 North Fork John day Wilderness: Forest Service,  Wilderness Net,
  Crawfish Creek TrailheadElkhorn Drive Scenic Byway
Books and Trail Guides: 
Moon Oregon Hiking: The Complete Guide to More Than 490 Hikes by Sean Patrick Hill












Access:  Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway- Forest Road 73, FS 216

 Type of road: 
 Paved to FS Road 216, dirt for 0.2 to trailhead
 Road condition: 
 Good on pavement, fair on 216
 Permits required: 
Where can permits be obtained: NA
Wilderness restrictions apply
Season of Use: 
Not maintained for winter use


 Trailhead Condition: Good 

[ X ]  Room to turn/ park a trailer      [   ]  Restrooms
[   ]  Corrals/ tie rails        [   ]  Picnic tables
[   ]  Stock water available     [   ]  Firewood available/ allowed
[   ]  Human water available     [   ]  Camp sites


Trail Condition: Good

Trail mileage: 
 3 miles
 Steep for short section, gradual for most 
Other Trails: 
 Yes, one,
 Loop Trails: 
 Good Camping Spots: 
 Yes, western side of the lake
 Distance to camping spots: 
 Less than 1/4 mile

   Type: NA
   Maintained: NA











[  ]  Windfalls      [   ]  Stream crossings
[   ]  Dogs        [   ]  Poisonous Plants
[   ]  Horses     [   ] Rattlesnakes
[   ]  ATV's     [ X ]  Other: Lightening, changeable weather, Seasonal Hunting 


General Description:
The Crawfish Basin is the result of ancient glaciation that carved Elkhorn Ridge into a series of lofty crags and spectacular alpine basins. At 6900 feet, Crawfish Lake covers about forty acres in the Crawfish Lake Basin, a two mile-long hollow on the western side of  Elkhorn ridge. The basin is reached by the Crawfish Creek Trail (#1606) which swings past the lake as it climbs from a lower trailhead lying at 6100 feet a mile or so southwest of the lake to an upper trailhead at 7100 feet that lies a bit more than a mile to the north of the lake. East of the lake the basin stretches toward Elkhorn ridge which rises sharply for another 1500 feet. Besides the lake, the Crawfish Basin also contains a large meadow and pond. No official trail accesses these areas, nor does a trail connect with trail #1612 which runs above the basin along Elkhorn Ridge.


Other Nearby Attractions:
Anthony Lakes, Anthony Lakes Ski Resort (closed in the summer) North Fork of the John Day Wilderness, many other trailheads in the Elk Horn Mountains. The Elkhorn Crest National Recreation Trail #1611 connects with the Crawfish Basin Trail #1612 to follow the craggy heights of Elkhorn Ridge for nearly fifty miles.


Reporter's Personal Take on This Trail:
Our first solo packing trip with llamas taken in the North Fork John Day Wilderness the first part of Sept. 2013. Our original plans were to hike into a different area of the wilderness but a fire kept us out of that area, so we went into Crawfish Lake. There are two trailheads for the Crawfish Lake Trail (1606). One starts at 6180' and is a gradual 1 1/2 mi to the lake at 6803'. The trailhead we used was the more northern trailhead at 7100' with a steeper gradient in one section of the trail. The total trail is 3 miles from trailhead to trailhead. There are plenty of camp sites on the western side of the lake.

This is a great short trip for first timers. The trail has moderate use. It was bow hunting season when we went in, so had colorful bandanas on the llamas - Cole and Katie.

Submitted by:
Dan and Sandra Van Liew
Heppner, OR Sept 2013

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