Explore the most popular birding trails in Eagle Cap Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hiked on Sept 28. Need a NW Forest Pass. Water available (bring treatment) all along Trail to Ice Lake. Nice gradual incline and trail is well-marked. Took me 3 hours, 72 degrees and sunny. Beautiful yellow Fall foliage all along route. It is hunting season now so be aware of that and wear neon orange. Trail to Matterhorn was well-marked for first 3/4 mile, after that I was just looking for the least slippery slope. Had to stop twice to rest. Thin air and quite steep. Took me 1 1/2 hours to reach summit. Worth every step to get a 360 view of the stunning Eagle Caps! I was actually higher than some birds! This trail is not for anyone who is afraid of heights or is not in good shape. Back at car at 6:10 pm so it took me almost 10 hours with stops for photos and snacks. One of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done!

hiking
17 days ago

It’s a constant gradual up then the last mile or so a steep straight up. Then, it’s very steep down until it’s a constant gradual down. It’s pretty and otherworldly dropping into that lake.

I would agree with high end of moderate. It is a leg burner of a hike but the end result leaves you with stunning views. Would definitely do this one again. If you go to the left of Maxwell you will also find another little pond.

The last mile is tough but worth it.

backpacking
26 days ago

The hike up was pretty nice. The views along the way were stunning, but the lake... spectacular.

Amazing trail.

Gorgeous trail. Mild elevation gains with a couple of steep spots. The trail follows the river almost the entire way. The lake was pretty drawn down, can’t wait to try again in the spring when it’s full again.

Beautiful, just beautiful! One of the prettiest hikes I’ve done. The mountains are so close and Slick Rock Falls was awesome. The three mile hike to the falls was not a very hard trek. I highly recommend!

Great hike... Insane views... High visibility.. Plenty of water opportunities.

First things first, this was an incredibly rewarding, but difficult hike. I did this hike with 2 other people in one day. We started at 5:50am and got back to the vehicle at 6:45pm. The first 4 miles are reasonable and not difficult, but once you start along the switch backs on the way to ice lake, the trail seems endless. We took a lot of breaks along the way because one of my companions hip flexor was injured. By the time we got to Ice Lake, it was 10:30. Needless to say, we were reasonably worn out and ready to eat lunch. Around 11:30am we started up the Matterhorn trail which has loose rock and some scrambling moments(especially at the last two peaks). There are 3 false peaks, so do not be fooled. JUST KEEP CLIMBING UNTIL YOU HAVE NO MORE MOUNTAIN. My companion with the injured leg made it about 1/4 the way up and decided to wait for me and my friend to make it to the peak and come back. This took about 3.5 hours all together from Ice Lake, to the peak, and back again. That is assuming you don't hang around too long on the peak. That being said, my legs were exhausted... noodles by the time we got back down to Ice Lake. The descent is really hard on your knees and ankles, so if you're someone with poor joints, don't overdo yourself.

From Ice Lake, the final descent to the parking lot toke 3 hours and 6 minutes for my friends and I.

NOTE: We could barely walk by the end of this. If we could change it we would probably have spent the night at Ice Lake and split the time up into two days. However, we didn't feel like dragging camping stuff up the mountain and slowing us down.

I hiked the Ice Lake Trail to Matterhorn and then did the traverse across unknown mountain 9,775 ft , then slightly to the left to continue on the Sacajawea trail. The Sacajawea trail is a scramble but worth every effort to reach the summit. I then went back to the summit of unknown mountain then came down the scree section to Ice Lake. It’s a beautiful hike with very awesome views of the Wallowa range. From Matterhorn you can see Eagle Cap and all. I recommend this hike. I went in Early August, no mosquitos and hiked it in one day. I started at 4am and was back at parking lot by 6:30pm. I took plenty of rest and took many pictures. The total milage was 22 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

From the parking lot to the edge of mirror lake is 7.5 miles so the round trip is 15 miles instead of the 13.3 posted. Trail well marked and lake is nice. Not the most beautiful lake in the eagle caps by any means. A few switch backs at the 2 mile mark and again the last mile bit otherwise a nice gradual slope.

2 months ago

The last mile is 'hardy' ;-) lots of elevation gain, but moderate is probably still an accurate ranking (just think on the high side of moderate.)

My phone recorded 8.7 miles... Which could be wrong? But is at least a solid mile over what it says here.

The hike has beautiful views, and makes for a lovely day hike. The lake is perfectly situated for relaxing when you arrive. This is a great hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Steady climb but not too difficult, moderate is fair description. Nice day hike that leaves plenty of time to relax at the lake.

Beautiful trial! Go in the early morning so you could enjoy the scenery more before you need to return down to wallowa.

hiking
2 months ago

We did this hike mid-June—-hardly any people and no bugs, BUT unable to do last 1/4 - 1/2 mike because of snow. Switchbacks up and back with gorgeous views, and well maintained trails with wonderful wildflowers. Hike was longer, probably closer to 9-10 miles. Great camping along Lostine River on road into trailhead

hiking
2 months ago

absolutely beautiful, one of my favs.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike, beautiful views, varied terrain. There was still some snow on the trail but it was passable with a little side stepping.

Knocked this trail out today. The trail starts off fairly gradual but starts climbing pretty quickly up the side of the mountain via switchbacks. I have read other articles that says this is the steepest trail in the Wallowa’s. It was created by miners but is still maintained. I started at 4am because I did not want to make the grind up in the beating sun. The trail crosses a few streams as it makes its way up the valley. I made it to Legore mine (old copper mine) and also found what looks to be remnants of an old log cabin. These are remnants from pioneer Joe Legore who’s family came east on the Oregon trail and were one of the first settlers in the Wallowa valley. A few feet inside the mine there is an ammo can where you can sign in on the papers that have been left inside, some interesting reads. From here I continued up where the trail disappears from time to time. There is no true trail at this point but others have worn a path that leads to an awesome meadow. From the meadow it continues up the valley over boulders and a few snow fields to the 2nd meadow where you have a great view of the back of Sawtooth Peak. A trail leads up from the left at this point which takes you up to a saddle which overlooks Legore lake, a tarn that is stocked with fish, (8,950 feet) which is the highest true lake in the state of Oregon. From the saddle above Legore Lake there are great views of the back side of Chief Joseph mountain and Twin Peaks. After resting for an hour I turned around and flew back down the trail. The views are incredible but make no mistake this trail is a beast and goes straight up in several areas. Just remember the true trail ends at the Legore mine, from that point forward it is up to you. Legore lake is probably a mile to a mile and a half-ish past Legore mine. I saw no one else on the trail. It is a steep descent be very careful and bring first aid just in case. Bugs were minimal. I uploaded a bunch of pics of the trail, mine, cabin, meadows, lake, etc.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike but tough! Did 5 miles out and back to the first stream crossing. Very petty and a tough 1500’ of gain and then loss!

This is a great hike to a beautiful lake. The bugs at the top in mid July were pretty thick. Bring spray and thermacell. My GPS said it was 9 miles round trip.

We completed this hike just last week. The hike to ice lake is a good climb, but well worth it. The trail is easy to follow and well marked. We counted under 5 downed trees through its entirety. There are many established sites at ice lake, some more exposed than others. We found that sites just above lake level had slightly better wind which decreased mosquitos. However mosquitos are present at all times of day.
The trail to Matterhorn is easy to follow and winds up he last 1.5 miles to Matterhorn peak. Quite a steep climb with amazing views of the lake the majority of the time. There were two snow drift crossings along the way. The last 400 feet are along exposed rocks, and many spur trails exist to the peak. We saw a family of mountain goats. Overall thumbs up

on Maxwell Lake Trail

backpacking
3 months ago

Gorgeous views and maintained trail. The last mile is quite grueling, especially if you are backpacking in however it's worth it for the sights at the top.

pretty neat

hiking
3 months ago

We really enjoyed this trail. Beautiful hike through alpine forest to a small lake at the top. Last mile or so was challenging with steep loose gravel and rock.
My gps tracker clocked this trip as 10 miles and other hikers we encountered said similar things.
Lovely hiking - Under canopy nearly the whole trip. Mosquitos and flies were hungry at the top- take bug spray.

hiking
3 months ago

Fun hike with lots to see!

hiking
3 months ago

Well worth the hike! The lake is stunning.

6/23-24: A bit of snow on the trail up to the alpine meadows, but it seems to be melting fast...which translates to quite a bit of water running down the trails. Easily navigated. Meadows alive with tiny wildflowers. Set up camp about a mile before Mirror Lake due to the amount of snow. Dropped the packs off & hiked to Mirror Lake in the late afternoon...LOTS of snow on the trail, but so worth it!

hiking
3 months ago

This was a beautiful hike the whole way with the gorgeous reward of Aneroid lake at the end. First two miles are steepish but after that it gently climbs. We did this on 6/22/18. Small snow patches up near the lake. The top 3 miles of the trail are ok for somewhat technical trail running. We ran down from the lake for about 4 miles but that last mile was we’re rocky.

Gorgeous hike with not a lot of people..

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