Backpack - Minam Lake


Backpack - Minam Lake

Eagle Cap Wilderness photo/naturalist-oriented backpack to base camp, middle day 8mi hike to photograph mid-summer wildflower and butterfly diversity along scenic West Lostine River Valley to Minam Lake and beyond in Wallowa Mountains.

  • Sat, Jul 21, 2018 — Mon, Jul 23, 2018
  • Seattle Branch Backpacking
  • Exploring Nature, Photography, Backpacking
  • Adults
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 12.6 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,000 ft

8:30am - Two Pan Trailhead (end of Lostine River Road, s. of Lostine, OR).  Approx 35-40 minute drive south of Lostine.

Updated 7/12/18:   Good trail conditions on 7/9-11 recon backpack - snowfree to Minam Lk and small snowpatches beyond (to Blue Lake and Carper Pass), abundant butterflies and birds, wildflowers nearing peak bloom, 2 mid-calf stream crossings, many mosquitos.  Better overall conditions expected for 7/21-23 backpack!

Members only, with backpack experience.   Leader approval required prior to registration for all prospective participants.   Include in your email recent 2-3 day Mountaineers or other easy/moderate backpacking trips, photography and/or naturalist interests for the trip, and why trip interests you.   

This is a 3-day photo/naturalist-oriented backpack, with leisurely to moderate pace to allow for photography opps and nature enjoyment.     Pace average is approx 1 mile/hour.  If you prefer a faster-paced backpack, this is not the backpack for you and you should choose a different trip.

Expect about 3 shallow to mid-calf stream crossings with wading shoes, or boots/gaiters over easy rock-hops.  

Photo/naturalist opportunities abound!  Lower to upper subalpine and alpine wildflowers, other flora, butterflies, birds, small to large mammals, interesting geology,  and the lovely West Lostine valley amid the Wallowa Mountains.  Our route will take us through some of Wallowa's best terrain for viewing great  diversity of wildflowers including endemics and butterflies in varied habitats from forests, small to expansive wet meadows, over drier rocky subalpine terrain from 5600' to 7700'.

Food storage:  Ursack, rope/hang bag or canister.  Filter, treat or boil water sources.

Recommended topo:  Green Trails Wallowa Mountains - Eagle Cap Wilderness, OR (map  4755X)

Estimated drive time/mileage from Seattle WA to Lostine, OR:  6.5 hrs highway travel (+ 19 miles/.75 hrs Lostine River Rd to Two Pan TH) via I-90 East from Seattle to US-97 (exit 110), I-82 S into Oregon, I-84 east to LaGrande (exit 261/Wallowa Lk), OR-82/Island Ave (follow signs toward Wallowa Lk) to Lostine.  Rt turn at I-82 curve in Lostine  (before Blue Banana expresso)  onto Lostine River Rd.   Blue Banana view at

Recommend camping at Forest Service camp (fees $5-6/site) at Two Pan, Shady or another camp near trailhead along upper Lostine River Road.  Northwest Forest Pass  or America the Beautiful Pass required for each vehicle. 


 DAY 1:   Two Pan trailhead 5600', West Lostine trail to base camp.  (4-4.3mi, +1450'), optional short hike through wildflower meadows in afternoon along W Lostine trail; DAY 2:  Base camp  to Minam Lake with option to hike to Blue Lake  via West Lostine trail.  (4.6-7.6 mi RT, +350 to +950; Blue Lake adds 3.4mi RT +350' elev');     DAY 3:  Return to trailhead (4-4.3mi, -830' to -1350').  Note:  Our base camp will be just outside of the Lakes Basin, in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

 Links to detailed trail descriptions at Hiking from Here:

 Field guides:  Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest (Turner & Gustafson), Guide to the Plants of the Wallowa Mountains of Northeastern Oregon.   Links to plant and butterfly lists will be available.

Leader's favorite trail for Wallowa wildflowers and butterflies!


Minam Lake

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