This wilderness is characterized by high alpine lakes and meadows, bare granite peaks and ridges, glaciated valleys, heavily-timbered lower valleys and scattered alpine trees in the higher elevations. Elevations range from 5,000 to 10,000 feet.
Access is primarily by means of Highway 82 to Wallowa Lake, which is a mile from the wilderness boundary. Developed campsites for picnicking and overnight camping are located along several roads.
Due to the high elevation, many of the trails are not snow-free until July, while some exhibit drifts into August. The area normally closes in late October. Weather is variable and visitors should take steps to protect themselves from the climate and insects.