Everyone has his or her own ideal expectations for an excursion into the backcountry. Many of us want it all: soaring jagged mountains, crystal clear lakes, lush forests, and a challenging trail that satisfies our thirst for adventure. Or we have to decide between great mountain adventures or great lakes views. Unfortunately ideals and reality, depending on your geographical location, rarely co-habitate, however, these magical places do in-fact exist. They’re just tucked away in deep corners of wilderness, which only makes them even more enticing.
Hidden away in the north east corner of Oregon within the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest lies the secluded Eagle Cap Wilderness. This pristine wilderness supplies the adventurer with endless exhilaration and relaxation along side rushing waterways, beautiful mountainous landscapes, and flower filled meadows that surround transparent alpine lakes.
Eagle Cap is named for the highest point within the wilds, which stands over 9200’ and is a regular aspiration, among several others, to summit by hikers and climbers alike. Aside from peaks to scramble this area provides miles and miles of trails that wind, loop, and cut throughout the preserve each with it’s own unique adventure and vista. One popular spot is the Lake Basin located at the base of Eagle Cap, and other distant peaks. The Lake Basin offers seven larger lakes and several smaller ponds to discover and explore along the path (trail 1807).
While Eagle Cap Wilderness offers many trails that lead to lakes high in the alpine, it is its trails that wander the vast pine forests below that offer spectacular solace and peace from the business of the outside world. Among the old towering trees here, worries and stress fade and become insignificant in comparison. In the Eagle Cap it is not only the end goal that is enjoyable, the entire journey is the prize.
Next time you find yourself wishing for a little bit of everything, remember Eagle Cap with its high rocky peaks, sheer mountain waters, and rich forests. You wont be disappointed!
USDA Pacific Northwest Region Eagle Cap Ranger District Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Oregon
There is a per-night parking fee at the trailheads