Eagle Cap Wilderness backpack

  • August 8, 2012 · 7:00 AM
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PLEASE READ THE FULL DESCRIPTION BELOW!!!

Hike rating: Difficult to Very Difficult.

Elevation gain: about 3,000 feet from lowest to highest point, but with plenty of ups and downs along the way.

Hike distance: 21(ish) miles of backpacking (spread evenly over 3 days), plus two free days to hike or relax as much as you like in the Alpine Lakes area, where we'll set up camp for 3 nights.

Distance from Portland: 330 miles (6 hours) each way.

Costs: suggested $40 per person to driver.  Wilderness permits are free.

What to bring: We'll go over this at the pre-hike meeting.

Sorry, no dogs on this outing...


Yes, the Eagle Cap Wilderness is a long way from Portland--330 miles away in the Wallowa Mountains of northeast Oregon--but a mid-summer backpack there should be an unforgettable experience.  Our 21-mile loop backpack (spread evenly over 3 days) will take us into the gorgeous Alpine Lakes region, where we'll find a spot near Moccasin or Mirror Lakes to set up camp for 3 nights.  This leaves you two full days to spend as you wish (without needing to carry heavy packs) in one of the most beautiful parts of the park.  The many hiking options here include summiting Eagle Cap Peak (9572') and exploring Glacier and Frazier Lakes.  If you prefer, spending some time relaxing by one of the alpine lakes and enjoying the tranquility is another possibility.  If you have Sullivan's Eastern Oregon guide, we'll be combining parts of his described routes #58 and #59.

A tentative itinerary:

Day 1: Drive to Two Pan trailhead; backpack 6 miles to Minam Lake (camp 1).

Day 2: Short morning hike to Blue Lake; backpack 5 miles to Mirror Lake (camp 2)

Day 3: Free (camp 2)

Day 4: Free (camp 2)

Day 5: Backpack 8 miles along the East Lostine River to our cars; drive back to Portland

There will be a mandatory pre-trip meeting about a week before we leave to go over details. (People on the 'yes' list will be informed of the meeting time and place.)

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  • johnny

    Yes, yes we did.

    August 29, 2012

  • Benson L.

    We went lake basin loop in May and lot of snow then. I am sure you had a lots of fun.

    August 29, 2012

  • Svetlana

    Matt, thanks again for the leadership on this trip, your choice of hiking and camping places was perfect. I am certainly interested to get more of your great photos, possibly on CD

    August 18, 2012

  • Matt T

    Obviously I uploaded a ton of photos to the site, but if any of you want a bunch of them to keep and don't want to sit and download each one individually, just let me know & I can cut you a CD...

    August 17, 2012

  • Svetlana

    Wonderful five days! Thanks Matt for taking us out there and thanks everybody for being such a fun company! This place is really the most scenic in Oregon. And how about shooting stars on the very last night! Soft granite slab by the Mirror Lake with everyone looking up in the sky.... Will do it again of course

    August 13, 2012

  • Chatchay Ramone de la M.

    It looks like you guys had a great time. It inspires me to create and host backpacking trips in the future. I am looking forward to it. Awesome pictures.

    August 13, 2012

  • johnny

    Amazing trip! Thanks, Matt for organizing such a wonderful outing. And thanks to the rest of you for helping make it so fun!

    August 13, 2012

  • Jerry G.

    Very well organized outing. Matt did a good job of being aware of the needs and desires of the entire group, and facilitating a fine experience. We were aided by weather exceding any reasonable expectations (comfortably cool days and warm evenings). Pleasant group of hikers who were generally willing to share both work and resources. Glad I went. Patagonia next?

    August 13, 2012

  • Carolyn H.

    Incredible! Beautiful! Fun fun fun! Matt did an awesome job. Amazing trip. :)

    August 13, 2012

  • johnny

    Super awesome hike! Matt, you're a great hike leader. Thanks's for a wonderful time!

    August 13, 2012

  • Robert R.

    How can you rate magnificent? This was by far the best experience I've had with NW Wilderness to date. Matt did an outstanding job organizing this event, and everyone that participated made it everlasting.

    August 13, 2012

  • Matt T

    Thanks guys for being part of a memorable outing! Perfect weather and an absolutely gorgeous corner of Oregon...

    August 12, 2012

  • Rick L. J.

    Want to say have a great time and better weather. I wonder if you can send a few pictues every day from up there. @Carolyn, I just realized that you and me were on the Goat Rocks trip, I think it was. Or was it Smith Rocks?

    August 7, 2012

    • Carolyn H.

      Hey.. it was Goat Rocks.. just went again last week.. way snowier!

      August 7, 2012

  • Jerry G.

    Hey, Rick, just get up on your roof each evening and look far to the east....we'll send up some smoke signals.

    August 7, 2012

  • Carolyn H.

    There will be creek crossings.. so be sure to bring water/camp shoes. :)

    August 7, 2012

  • Jerry G.

    I am planning on bringing my whisperlite w/1 bottle of fuel to share w/Svetlana. Happy to share w/others with a little more fuel. Maybe Robt doesn't need to carry his stove? 3 bottles of fuel should be quite enough for 4 days of cooking.

    August 6, 2012

  • Robert R.

    I am bringing my MSR Whisperlite and 2 bottles of fresh fuel.

    August 6, 2012

  • johnny

    Also, who else is bringing a stove and what kind/how heavy/efficient is it? I have a very lightweight stove I can bring if other people are planning on bringing heavy or slow ones. However, if people have really nice stoves they want to bring, I'll leave mine at home and maybe just bring a can of fuel.

    What I'm saying is, we really don't need more than 3 stoves.

    August 6, 2012

    • Carolyn H.

      My stove is lightweight and pretty fast.. boils 3 1/2 cups of water at a time.. onlly for boiling water though.. please bring isobutane fuel for a Jetboil if you want to use it anyone! ;)

      August 6, 2012

  • johnny

    Hey everyone, I have a 4-liter gravity system for filtering water. You just fill one bag with water, attach the filter to the bottom and the clean bag to the other end, and it filters 4 liters of water in 3 minutes. So, no one else needs to bring a water filter. Maybe just some drops/tablets for emergency backup.

    August 6, 2012

  • Matt T

    Yep, sorry to lose Linda and Laura, but logistically this will make it much easier with 6 people and one camp. Was my body odor that bad at the meeting the other day? :-)

    August 4, 2012

    • Carolyn H.

      If anyone wants to use my stove.. jetboil.. you're welcome.. but please bring fuel.. isobutane $3.99

      August 6, 2012

    • Carolyn H.

      a can at next adventure.. made for jetboil specifically I think.. and just for boiling water please. :)

      August 6, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Can't wait to hear about this trip & see all the pics! Hope to head there in Sept

    August 5, 2012

  • Robert R.

    I'll be there!!! I guess were all at one camp site now.

    August 4, 2012

  • Benson L.

    Oh mosquitoes was not bad except at Six Mile Meadow.

    July 6, 2012

  • Benson L.

    If you get Wallowa lake late, option is to camp at state campground or hike about 1/2 mile and trail junction with Chief Joseph trail. another 1/2 mile to Chief Joseph, there is small camp ground and water fall is near by.

    July 6, 2012

  • Matt T

    Thanks for the report! In another month I'm assuming most of that snow on the trail will be long gone...

    July 6, 2012

  • Benson L.

    Just came back from Eagle Cap. Trail condition is good. From Moccasin lake to Glacier lake trail is still covered with snow. Cross the ice cold water to get to trail to Glacier peak trail. I think we were the first group in Glacier peak trail. Instead of normal trail, we went straight up.

    July 6, 2012

  • Carolyn H.

    Sounds great! Should get some meteor showers too. :)

    June 24, 2012

  • Matt T

    For those who want to make plans for taking time off, I'll go ahead and lock in these dates. The trails should be largely snow free by then and wildflowers should still be in bloom. Mosquitoes are a bit of a crap shoot, but we'll take insect repellant and hope for the best!

    June 23, 2012

  • Chatchay Ramone de la M.

    I am planning on doing this area next year. I am looking forward to it. :)

    June 19, 2012

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