Eagle Cap Wilderness
Eagle Cap Wilderness was first set aside in 1930 as a primitive area and became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1964. Located in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Eagle Cap is Oregon's largest wilderness area at 360,000 acres. it is ideally located right next door the Hells Canyon National Recreation and Wilderness Area.
Eagle Cap Wilderness was named for a glaciated peak that sits in the heart of the Wallowa Mountains, a 1500 square mile spur of the Rocky Mountains. At 9,572 feet (2918 meters) elevation, Eagle Cap is not the highest summit in the wilderness area, but the top can be reached by trail and offers a remarkable view of five watersheds that fan out through steep-walled mountains valleys in every direction.
The Nez Perce tribe inhabited the Wallowa country for thousands of years until Lewis and Clark arrived in 1805. The meeting of the old and new worlds still lives in Eagle Cap Wilderness on the north side of the Wallowa Range where the Matterhorn summit is connected by a two-mile long ridge to the summit of Sacajawea. The Matterhorn and Sacajawea anchor the southern end of the great Hurwal Divide that terminates on the north with a peak named after the legendary Nez Perce leader, Chief Joseph.
In fact the story of Eagle Cap and the Wallowa Mountains is the story of the American West. It is the story of native Americans, mountain men, cavalry, gold mining, and ranching. It is the story of high mountains, cold rivers, blue lakes, and country with a higher population of elk, deer, and bear than human visitors.
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