For a slightly tamer and multi-modal day from the Joseph area, a trip to Aneroid Mountain combines a tram ride with a ridgeline run to escape the crowds in the most popular area of the Wallowas. In July and August, the Wallowa Lake Tramway doesn’t offer rides until 9 am and stops running at 4:30 pm. This means you can take a little extra time in the morning to sleep in maybe or get some breakfast at my favorite spot in Joseph, The Blythe Cricket, but make sure you get the first chair to give yourself enough time to explore up on the ridge. This run starts right at the top of the tram, which also happens to be pretty close to the summit of Mount Howard, an easy side peak to tag on the way out.
The route roughly follows the ridgeline south and ends up being about 12 miles and 3500 feet of elevation gain round trip. While the area immediately around the tram can be quite busy since there is a restaurant at the top, once you get on the trail toward East Peak, only a few people will venture out that far. And on a beautiful Saturday, I didn’t see anyone else past East Peak on the entire rest of the run, so this is truly a place to find hours of solitude in the Wallowas. The summit of Aneroid Mountain offers incredible views back towards The Matterhorn to the West and all the way over to The Seven Devils in Idaho across Hell’s Canyon deep below to the East.
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