Mirror Lake, Lakes Basin, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon.

Great Trip: Backpacking Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness

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By Michael Lanza

Forget for a moment where you are while hiking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and you might look around and mistake the sharply angled, granite peaks and crystal-clear lakes for the High Sierra. But in the Eagle Cap, which occupies a big chunk of the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon, you won’t find the Sierra’s crowds (except in a few, popular corners like the Lakes Basin on nice summer weekends) or competition for backcountry permits. Load up your backpack and explore these mountains for a long weekend or a week in summer or early fall to explore this place with a backpack.

Scroll through the photos below from my family’s five-day, 40-mile loop hike, which took in the gorgeous Lakes Basin and offers the option of tagging the 9,572-foot summit of Eagle Cap, but also included lonelier lakes and passes that are just as pretty. Then read my story about that trip, “Learning the Hard Way: Backpacking Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness,” which has more photos, a video, and plenty of info for planning the trip yourself.

See all of my stories about backpacking and about family adventures at The Big Outside.

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