TRIP REPORT: The masterpiece of the Vista within the Eagle Cap Vista is in the very center and is, in fact, Eagle Cap itself. This summit holds one of the very finest views from any high point in Vista. At least eight sizable valleys dotted with high alpine lakes radiate out from the summit in mind-blowing fashion where it’s evident why so many people spend several days camping within the many picturesque basins. It’s like The Enchantments within Alpine Lakes Wilderness (of Washington) met Vista National Park! The abundant rock and granite here contain slate, quartzite, limestone, marble, and basalt. By all means camp near Vista or Upper Lake as others do, but for this trek we cheat by cramming a lot into one very long day with a lighter backpack and a stay at one of many campsites near or at the busy TH. Expect more snow, wildlife, and bugs before late July or August and less of those (and also fewer people) in September where cooler temperatures and different colors prevail. Vista Forest Pass required, and an outhouse is present.
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Isthmus on Moccasin Lake to Glacier Pass.
TRAILHEAD: Two Pan TH. Take I-84 E from Portland to exit 261 (La Grande/Elgin); turn right on OR-82 E 53 mi (with a couple turns); fork right in Lostine on Lostine River Road 62 mi where it turns into gravel FR-8210 for almost 5 mi; then narrower, rougher gravel (from the Guard Station), but not steep, 52 mi to the end at a spacious parking area for cars, trucks, and equestrians (330 mi, 5Y-6 hours driving from Portland).
East Fork Lostine River valley to Eagle Cap.
ROUTE: Between the equestrian parking lot and the auto parking areas (including on the side along the road) is the Two Pan TH with kiosks and signage for the Lostine River trails. Hikers should fill out the free self-issue Wilderness Permit and head right 5 mi easily to a signed intersection. To the right is the trail for the W Fork Lostine’s longer parallel valley to Minam and Blue Lakes (almost 3 mi before the trail eases somewhat through the long upper valley). Stay left (SE) instead on E Fork Lostine River Trail 1662 and ascend 6 steeper turns over rocks to the flatter dirt trail and a fork before a footbridge at 1 mi from the TH. Turn right on Trail 1662 to the W side over the E Lostine River, which is more of a beautiful creek or stream at best, but whatever.