Eagle Cap Wilderness Area Trails

MODERATE 15 reviews
#1 of 13 trails in

Eagle Cap Wilderness Area Trails is a 35.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Joseph, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November.

DISTANCE
35.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
7355 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Check out our video at TrailPersective on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O4jPRtO5y0 or our website at: http://trailperspective.weebly.com/ Started this trip by flying into Boise ID 7.02.2017, and started our trip 7.03.2017 after spending the night in at the Eldorado Inn in Baker City OR. (BI-Mart in Baker city has many supplies available to the Backpacker who forgets to grab items like fuel at the Boise REI). We had a backup trip planned for the Elkhorn Crest Trail in case the East Eagle - Imnaha Loop wasn't feasible. However, despite the warnings we opted to attempt the loop in Eagle Cap. On our drive from Baker City we took the shortest route via GPS, this took us on a very steep and sketchy route I would not recommend. I would recommend taking the directions listed in the various guidebooks for the area (ex: Backpacking Oregon Douglas Lorain) as it it much less steep and bumpy. Taking off from East Eagle Trailhead, we ran into the beginning of East Eagle Trail 1910 about a mile up the road. In the first ~9.5 miles to our camp at the Horton Pass/Frasier Pass junction the trail climbs from ~4500ft to ~6500ft. This means its a slow but steady 2000ft accent the entire way. The trail was almost entirely snow free with the exceptions of a few creeks running off the mountains still covered in packed snow. Reports from the ranger station in Joseph claimed significant snow 4-6 miles into most trails. However, east eagle was almost completely snow free until about 11 miles in. The video shows our attempt to ford east eagle creek to reach Hidden Lake but we became uncomfortable & almost instantly numb by the thigh high water. On day 2 we traveled up Horton Pass and spent the night near Mirror lake. The 2,000ft climb up Horton Pass was make difficult about the 12 mile mark with slopey snow covered trails not visible without GPS. We were fine with spikes and trekking poles until the last pitch of the pass. At this last portion we broke out the ice axes due to the possibility of a dangerous fall. Once at the top of Horton Pass, we ignorantly glissaded and butt-saded down the other side toward the lakes basin about 1000ft despite the entire basin being covered in snow. This turned out to be our biggest mistake. When arriving in the Lakes Basin Area, we realized that the hiking was extremely difficult due to several feet of very pitted snow. We made the call to turnaround at Mocassin Lake. The reason being that we were unsure of conditions ahead at Glacier Pass and we didn't want to be stuck in a worse situation if we had to turn around further into the hike. So we searched and found what seemed like the only melted out campsite at Mirror Lake. The 3rd day was a nervewracking journey back up to Horton Pas (scariest part for me) with axes and spikes. We ended up making the entire journey back to the trailhead the same day with hopes of having time to hike a bit of the Elkhorn Crest Trail. All in all, this was only 27 miles but is was a brutal 27. The heavy snowpack this year indeed lived up to the hype. I would not recommend the unprepared hiker to make the journey all the way up to Horton Pass (I would stop at first significant snow on the pass). And for the prepared hikers who can make it up the pass, I would not recommend the Lakes Basin unless you are experienced and confident on heavy snow. The snow was packed like concrete with only the occasional posthole. Regards,

backpacking
1 month ago

Check out our trip on TrailPerspective on YouTube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O4jPRtO5y0

backpacking
1 month ago

backpacking
7 months ago

My friends and I did the 41 mile Eagle Cap Wilderness Loop trail and it was stunning! There are multiple lakes and streams along the trail so water should never be an issue, and the meadows are perfect for setting up camp.

backpacking
Thursday, July 28, 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

hiking
Thursday, December 25, 2014

Spent a week here on two different occasions. Absolutely gorgeous area. I highly recommend it to others.

hiking
Monday, October 06, 2014

Spent the whole summer here

hiking
Monday, October 06, 2014

Wondered around here for 6 days a great spot.

hiking
Monday, August 11, 2014

Did a 50-miler up there (took 20 miles off due to time constraints) and it was absolutely stunning. By far one of the best hikes I've ever been on. My one complaint though is that on the opposite side of the lakes region over Eagle Cap, the trail isn't very well marked, probably because it's not quite as popular. If you have a GPS with you then you should be fine. Would highly recommend this trail.

hiking
Tuesday, January 07, 2014

My friend Matt and I hiked East Eagle to Hidden Lake camped there and Hiked up to the top of Eagle Cap. It is just beautiful! We spent four days in the area. Can't wait to hike the rest of the Mtn Lakes! Rocky and steep in spots but very doable!

hiking
Friday, September 28, 2012

The Eagle cap wilderness is one of the best high mountain trail systems Oregon has to offer. The views are spectacular and only the rugged should venture up the trail. The trail is steep in places and very rocky in others. The weather is also very unpredictable, ranging from 80 degrees daytime to morning frost on the ground in late August.