Granite Trail #1676 - Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon

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4.77 miles (7.68 km)

Total Elev. Gain:
4,215 ft. (1285 m)
Total Elev. Loss:
-610 ft. (-186 m)

Max Altitude:
8,514 ft. (2595 m)
Min Altitude:
4,909 ft. (1496 m)
by Brian Sather — Posted Sun, Jul 9, 2017
This route is in the business of serious climbing from the Minam River to plug you up into the heart of the Eagle Cap with a view of all of the high peaks. It really is a beautiful experience going from the pristine waters of the Minam and switchback-ing up through an old growth forest that has beautiful big ponderosa pines and douglas fir. After the nasty switchback section, there is a very long and mostly level traverse over to the edge of Granite Gulch. Once you wrap around into it, the scenery instantly changes to sub-alpine and then alpine as you beeline toward the saddle. About a mile from the top, there are a couple small lakes to the west that can be accessed by a side trail. You end up at a trail junction with the Copper Creek Trail as it tops out with a view into Swamp Lake. The trail starts off the upper Minam River Trail, just up river from the bridge at the Elk Creek Trail #1944. The trail is benched out nicely and overall in good shape with surprisingly little blow down given that it is rarely maintained. Perhaps this is some evidence of the strength of an old growth forest. However, when you get into Granite Gulch in the alpine, there is some bad trail erosion from water run-off and several trees down from wind and avalanches, causing several trail diversions.

 Bridge of Minam at Elk Creek — 45.180250, -117.463120
 Junction Copper Creek and Granite Trails — 45.210410, -117.425860

Looking West from the top of the Granite Trail
Bridge across the Minam River, near the start of the trail.
Trail sign at the bottom of the trail.
Thicker down low.

Nice grassy slopes.
Big trees

Granite Gulch

Looking toward High Hat Butte at the Catherine & Squaw Creek area from the top.