Explore the most popular nature trips 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
15 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
24 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!

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely amazing. We went on Labor Day weekend and were bummed when we saw how crowded the trail head and trails were. but when we got to the lake we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves! There are lots of little coves and many camp spots all around the lake, so even when there are a lot of people there is room to spread out. We must have picked a nice time of year to visit because we didn't experience the mosquito problems others have mentioned.
If you don't backpack often and aren't used to carrying heavy packs, leave early and give yourself plenty of time for breaks. It basically gentle uphill the entire way with some slightly steeper parts near the top.
If you like fishing, this is the place. We caught one with a piece of floss and a safety pin so I'm pretty sure anyone can get something!
Ill definitely be back sometime to summit the Matterhorn and see some more of the lakes Eagle Cap has to offer!

backpacking
1 month ago

It is gorgeous here, get your camp sites on Friday before everyone else. My biggest advice for here is to bring a load of bug spray. I just bought a Thermacell unit because of my trip here. There were clouds of mosquitos. To the point where we hid in our tents and just yelled at each other from them for conversation. They were getting stuck in our lashes and snorted up our noses, it was pretty awful. Outside of the bugs, it was gorgeous. We made the trek up to Matterhorn but couldn’t go the last 100 feet. It was all skree and melting snow (we went at the end of July). We kept watching others attempt it to see if they found another way that we missed but everyone ended up turning around. It was a real bummer to not summit Matterhorn but the views were still gorgeous! I also suggest being on top of SPF here. The trail doesn’t offer much protection from the sun, not even the areas in the trees. Everyone got a bit burned, we kept sweating our sunblock off. The hike up was over cast so we didn’t realize it wasn’t as protected a trail. The hike down was 90 degrees and a cloudless sky. Everyone kept taking standing breaks under the few shade areas and drinking water. So bring a hat and get ready for the miles!

camping
1 month ago

Absolutely amazing trip, took us a little over 5 hours in. Most the elevation gain is in the last few miles of the hike, with several switch backs. The lake is breathtaking and the stars at night are worth every step.

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.

fishing
1 month ago

Absolutely amazing little hike. We hiked in with our fly rods and continued onto the Matterhorn that evening, eating dinner on top. It is a Great Lake to camp at and is packed wit Brooke Trout. The hiking was great and the fishing was better. About 9 miles to ice lake. Doable in 3-4 hours depending on how often you stop to look at the waterfalls and meadows filled with wildflowers.

hiking
1 month ago

8 miles from the car park to Ice Lake heaven, 16 miles in total. It was totally amazing- both the scenery along the way and Ice Lake which was beautiful and larger than expected. Certain parts of the hike were TOUGH... loose rocks about 2/3 up and the switchbacks near the top. A full day required, with extra water and snacks recommended. LOVED it and hope to return again in the future. My feet hurt, and the beer now back at base is delicious. Cheers.

With 40 lb packs it took us less than five hours to reach Ice Lake. Amazing views the entire way. While steep in areas, the trail was clear and easy to hike 95% of the way. (Some small sections were composed entirely of loose rocks).
Set up camp, then hiked up Matterhorn (much more difficult) and back to Ice Lake in about three hours. (Wind really picked up, so we skipped Sacagawea)

There were two other groups of campers on Thursday, but tons of people headding up on Friday while we were heading down.

Amazing area.

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.

There are some disagreements on the length; my fiancée suspects that they lengthened the switchbacks, because they were so gentle. We calculated 8.5 miles to the lake. It took us four hours to get there, but we could have been faster. It's probably better to camp at the lake and enjoy the views rather than try to do it all in a day, though a day hike is certainly possible. Beautiful mountain views, some wide grasslands, and the lake is gorgeous.

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.

2 months ago

Absolutely AMAZING! Worth the hike up. Got eaten alive by mosquitoes no matter what we did, but would totally do it again. The view is worth it.

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

backpacking
2 months ago

Gorgeous hike, the whole way. The lake is stunning, the color of the water unreal. Wildflowers everywhere. Didn’t want to leave. Mosquitoes are not playing games, but didn’t have any problem with them until ~6 pm.

hiking
2 months ago

absolutely beautiful, one of my favs.

hiking
2 months ago

We did the hike as an out and back. It was doable as a day hike but would have been a lot better to stay overnight and not be crunched for time. The views were amazing with lots of waterfalls and a beautiful lake view at the end as a reward.

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!

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