West Lostine River Loop


Backpack - Lostine North Minam Loop (Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon)

Photo-oriented backpack, leisurely to moderate pace. Potential change to West to East Lostine/Lake Basin Loop, if high elevation snowpack or high stream crossings.

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  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 36.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,040 ft

8:00am Two Pan Trailhead, N end of Lostine River Road (same trailhead if alternate route)

Members only.   Leader's permission required prior to registration. Email leader with request for permission including backpacking qualifications and  3-7+ day Mountaineers backpacks completed during past 3 years, any special photo or naturalist interests for this trip.   Please do not send website note for leader permission, as these do not reach the leader.

This is a leisurely- to moderate-paced photography backpack.  If you're looking for a faster-paced trip, this is not the backpack for you.

Be aware of driving time to Lostine:  from Seattle approx 7 hours via I-90; or approx 6 hours from Portland area.  From Lostine, turn south following signs for Lostine River campgrounds, traveling approx 18.2 miles on paved then gravel Forest road 8210 to Two Pan trailhead.  Allow 30-40 minutes for travel from Lostine to Two Pan trailhead.  Several rustic forest service camps with modest fee (or free) are located along  Lostine River Road (including a camp at Two Pan trailhead). 

Primary trip itinerary for Lostine / North Minam Loop   (Also see Alternate Itinerary below for West to East Lostine/High Lakes Loop, if necessary to change route if late high-elev snowpack or high snowmelt/stream crossing hazard).   Leader is monitoring high snowpack/trail conditions and West Fork Lostine river crossing  levels (near Copper Creek jct).   Participants should be flexible to backpack either primary or alternate intinerary, which may change on short notice or first day (if river crossing too high).  Lostine river crossing is near junction with Copper Creek  trail after first 2.5 miles of W Fork Lostine trail and common to both loops.  Note: added 7/5.

Day 1:  Two Pan trailhead 5600' via W. Lostine trail to camp 7320' in Copper Crk/Elkhorn Crk basin.  Approx 5-5.5 mi, 1720' gain.   Stream fords up to near mid calf height.

Day 2: Upper Copper Crk/Elkhorn Crk Basin to via 8400' pass to Swamp Lk 7837.'  Approx 4 mi 1080' gain & 563' loss to Swamp Lk + up to 1.5 mile exploring around & above Swamp Lk.

Day 3:  Steamboat Lake, North Minam River canyon, camp beside upper or lower North Minam Meadows.  5.5 - 6.8 mi, approx 2400' loss & minimal gain. 

Day 4:  John Henry Lake camp ,  via 7820' Wilson Pass.  4.2mi 1728' gain to camp with short side trip to explore lake vicinity. 

Day 5: Brownie Basin camp via 7820' Wilson Pass, 4mi 652' gain to pass & 580' loss to camp.   Optional side trip to scenic Laverty and Chimney Lakes, up to 6mi rt from camp. 

Day 6:  Hike out along Bowman Creek to Bowman trailhead, road walk or vehicle shuttle to Two Pan Trailhead add 3.8 mi 500' gain.  Two or more vehicles eliminates road walk.

Alternate 6-day trip  (if late snowpack or high stream crossing) on  West to East Lostine / High Lakes Loop. Tentative travel route  (full mileage and elev changes to follow soon):  Two Pan trailhead, West Fork Lostine trail 6 miles 1800' gain to Minam Lake (7380' camp), optional 3.4mi RT 350' gain/loss short side trip to Blue Lake and Carper Pass trail 4.5 mi 1180' gain and 1000' loss to Mirror Lake (7620' base camp 3-4 nights, with option to move middle night to another lake), explore lakes nearby approx 2 to 8 miles RT with low to moderate elev change from Mirror Lake (including Glacier Lake, Horseshoe, Sunshine, etc.), Mirror Lake (camp last night), hike out 7.4 miles 2020' loss on day 6 via East Fork Lostine trail to Two Pan trailhead.  Note:  added 7/5.

Each vehicle will need Northwest Forest Pass, America the  Beautiful or comparable pass.  Leader self-registers group with free backcountry permit. 


West Lostine River Loop

  • Green Trails Wallowa Mountains No. 475SX

    Imus Geographics Wallowa Mountains

    USGS Steamboat Lake, OR

    USGS North Minam Meadows, OR

    USGS Chief Joseph Mountain, OR

    USGS Eagle Cap, OR
  • See full route/place details.
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