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Recommended by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral industries

Moccasin Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of the Wallowa Mountains, with Eagle Cap in the background.

This tarn lake, filling an ice-gouged rock basin, lies in the center of the Wallowas at an elevation of nearly 7,500 ft. It is one of the many marks left from the carving done by Pleistocene ice, which covered a large portion of these “Oregon Alps.”

Nine large glaciers radiated out from here during the ice age between two million and 10,000 years ago. The rock at the core of the Wallowa Mountains is the Wallowa batholith, granite from a magma upwelling in Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous time (between 160 million and 120 million years ago) that also cemented together a great diversity of still older, “exotic” terranes—blocks of the Earth’s crust that traversed the Pacific Ocean and attached themselves to the (then) edge of the North American continent.

Access: One road leads to within about 7 mi of this area: from State Route 82 south along the Lostine River. Trails converge here from several directions, including a trailhead near the south end of Wallowa Lake.

This is not only a wilderness area but the most precious inner core of it, protected by special regulations. Before any visit one should definitely consult with the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center in Enterprise, (541) 426-4978. A map of the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area is available from DOGAMI’s Nature of the Northwest Information Center.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE EAGLE CAP WILDERNESS




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