backpack: Wallowas – Lakes Basin + Lostine Meadows
FIVE DAY BACKPACKING TRIP
- distance & elevation gain to Lostine Meadows campsite: 3.7 miles, 1,700 ft. gain
- Lostine Meadows to Mirror Lake campsite: 4 miles, 600 ft. gain
- hike out: 7.7 miles, 2,000 ft. loss
- day hike options: Glacier Lake, Lakes Basin loop, Eagle Cap summit
- best months: August – September
- location: Eagle Cap Wilderness; nearest town: Lostine, OR
- land management: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
- trail conditions: East Fork Lostine River Trail
- hike description: Oregon Hikers – East Fork Lostine to Eagle Cap
- permits: self-issued at the trailhead
- trailhead pass: NW Forest Pass
- regulations: campfires are not allowed in the Lakes Basin
We started the trip at the Two Pan Trailhead and took the East Fork Lostine River Trail to Lostine Meadows. We hiked in about four miles and spent the first night camped in the meadows. The East Fork of the Lostine River runs through the meadow, making it easy to filter water from camp. The next day, we hiked in to Mirror Lake, just below Eagle Cap. The area is full of white granite in shelves, walls, and large rocks scattered around the landscape mixed with evergreens. We camped next to Mirror Lake for two nights, and did the Lakes Basin day hike on the second day. There was smoke from nearby wildfires each afternoon, usually blowing out by dark. At night, we were able to see a sky full of stars, including the Perseid meteor showers and the full Milky Way. We returned to the meadows for our last night before hiking out on the fifth day.
The Lakes Basin in the Wallowas is the most stunning mountain scenery that I’ve ever experienced, and I hope to come back often.