Eastern Eagle Cap Wilderness: Blue Hole

Looking down the Imnaha River from Blue Hole
Few areas in Cascadia are as beautiful as the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The Wallowa Mountains along with Wallowa Lake are fairly well known, but on the east side of Oregon's largest Wilderness lies the headwaters of the Imnaha River. The trailhead is located at the beautiful Indian Crossing Campground, which straddles both sides of the Imnaha River.

Campsite at Indian Crossing Campground
Near the start of the trail to Blue Hole
There were several people camping at Indian Crossing, they were there for the first weekend of elk season. After setting out we came across one guy returning empty handed. The first section of trail follows an old roadbed while passing several cabins. As you near the sign welcoming you to the Eagle Cap Wilderness the scenery improves dramatically.

Entering the Eagle Cap Wilderness on the way to Blue Hole

Fire created meadow in the Eagle Cap Wilderness

Along the Imnaha River
  There are several small springs along the trail which make things fairly muddy, even in a dry year like this. Shortly before reaching the side trail to Blue Hole there is a fairly extensive camp area.

Ponderosa pines and blue sky

Campsite near Blue Hole
If it were later in the day we may have taken a dip at Blue Hole, but it was only in the 40's at this point. The water is incredibly clear and cold.

This is worthy destination by itself, but can be a gateway to the more famous higher elevation peaks. I hope to spend the majority of my winter break in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Indian Crossing campground is also a great place to stay if you're exploring the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

Directions from Joseph: Take Highway 350 east for 8 miles, turn right Wallowa Loop Road, follow for 30 miles, turn right onto FR 3960, follow till the end of the road at 9 miles.

Hike Distance:  4.96

Hike Type: Out and Back 

Elevation Gain: 200 Feet

Trailhead Elevation: 4,500 Feet

Usage: Light

Difficulty: 1 out of 5 because of rough terrain

Fees: Northwest Forest Pass or 5 dollars

Cell Service with Verizon: None

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