Explore the Eagle Cap—Largest Wilderness Area in Oregon

It was tough to find a comprehensive, user-friendly map of the Eagle Cap Wilderness... until now.

Alpine Climbing, Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Severe

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Ice Lake/Matterhorn
Ice Lake/Matterhorn Photo: Mark Schindler

Description

The Eagle Cap Wilderness protects the heart of the Wallowa Mountains from the encroachment of civilization. This massive wilderness area—the largest in Oregon—now covers 359,991 acres of land (or 565 square miles). This raw, rugged wilderness area has a few popular trails and areas—like the Lakes Basin—but other portions of the Wilderness are remote, the trails are overgrown, and the impact of man can barely be seen. If you’re looking for a truly remote backcountry adventure, the Eagle Cap can provide!

"The Eagle Cap Wilderness is characterized by high alpine lakes and meadows, bare granite peaks and ridges, and U-shaped glaciated valleys,” according to the US Forest Service. The peaks hidden deep in the Wilderness include Eagle Cap, which was once incorrectly thought to be the tallest mountain in the Wallowas (originally called the “Eagle Mountains”). Sacajawea Peak now reigns as the highest mountain in the Wallowas, with Matterhorn a close second. Matterhorn was also once considered to be the highest peak in the range, until it was recently re-measured.

The Wallowa Range is unique in Oregon as one of the only places where you’ll find granite rock. In addition to the unique granite formations from an offshoot of the Rocky Mountains, the Wallowas were also "started with a volcanic chain in the Pacific that erupted, continued with sediment being laid down, followed by tectonic plates slamming into each other, then followed by more volcanic eruptions, and finally glacial erosion,” according to Brian Jenkins on SummitPost.org. "Add this together and you get huge granite walls thousands of feet high, limestone ridges, and red and yellow volcanic rock, giving it a most unique quality,” he continues.

Here in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, you’ll find approximately 535 miles of trails, comprising nearly a lifetime of adventure! With such a short season to reach the high country (July-September), it could easily take decades to explore all of the trails in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

Up until now, it was, unfortunately, difficult to find a comprehensive map online of the entire Eagle Cap Wilderness that’s easy to use and read, so we’ve created one here on FATMAP! Download the entire area of this guidebook for offline use in the Wilderness, or use it on your computer to plan your next adventure.

Sources: FS.USDA.gov StatesManJournal.com SummitPost.org: Matterhorn (Oregon) SummitPost.org: Sacajawea Peak Wikipedia: Eagle Cap Wilderness

Routes included

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