Eagle Cap Lakes Basin Loop


Backpack - Eagle Cap Lakes Basin Loop

This 4.5-day moderate-strenuous weekday loop backpack (30 miles, 3900' total elevation gain) circles through the Lakes Basin in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon's answer to California's High Sierra and Washington's Enchantment Lakes.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Mon, Aug 10, 2015 — Fri, Aug 14, 2015
  • Foothills Backpacking Committee
  • Backpacking
  • Singles, 20-30 Somethings, Retired Rovers, Adults
  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 30.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,900 ft

We will meet early afternoon on Monday August 10 at the West Wallowa State Park trailhead (6 hour drive to the trailhead from Seattle); we’ll walk a short way up the trail to camp that night.  We’ll walk out Friday afternoon and be back to Seattle late that evening (or those who wish can camp or hotel it somewhere in between that night on your own).

Although open to all club members over age 18, this trip is also part of the B3 Backpacking Building Blocks series and eligible for B3 course credit. In addition, this backpack will have a practical instructional/learning focus and offer experience in proper gear use and camp set-up techniques.

The trail sets out from the Wallowa Lake TH near Wallowa Lake State Park just a few miles south of Enterprise, Oregon, about a 6.5 hour drive from Seattle.  We'll work together to arrange carpools for Monday morning Aug 10, returning late Friday.   On our first day, we will hike from the trailhead (~5500') approximately 5 miles to Six Mile Meadow (6000') and camp there or somewhere not far from there.  The next morning we’ll walk past Frazier Lake (7200') to Glacier Lake for our first night's camp, then and  over Glacier pass (8500') and into the Lakes Basin (~7600') to camp in the meadows back from the lakes.  On day 4 those who wish can get an early start and take the 4 mile side trip up the rough boot path to the top of Eagle Cap Peak (9300') before moving camp a bit farther along in the lakes basin.  On day 5 we'll finish our circuit through the lakes basin to Six Mile Meadow and head to the trailhead for the long drive back (Those who wish can spend an extra night and drive back on the morning of the 15th). 

Participants must be in excellent aerobic condition, able to easily complete 10 mile days with 2000+ feet of gain with a loaded pack at an average pace of ~2 mph without having to take frequent rest breaks.  Please email the leader to obtain permission to register for the trip.   

Please sign up only if you are fairly certain that you will have time off to come on the trip; even early cancellations become problematic with the distance and coordination of travel to the trailhead. 

Participants will need to be prepared for all kinds of weather, as this country can experience summertime blizzards and heavy rainstorms as well as warm days.  Everyone will be expected to store their food securely, and trees for adequate hanging will be in short supply, so Ursacks or bear canisters are recommended.  The leader will send out a series of emails in advance of the trip to help participants prepare to pack light.  Sharing of gear is strongly encouraged and will be coordinated during the pre-trip planning.  The trip may be cancelled or moved in case of bad weather. 

Participants are asked to register on or before July 10 because the leader will be out in the backcountry and unable to process permission requests from July 11-28.


Eagle Cap Lakes Basin Loop

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports