Come join TKO for six days of trailwork in the beautiful Eagle Cap Wilderness on the Goat Creek and Dobbin Creek Trails
We will be working on the Goat Creek trail (#1665) and the Dobbin Creek trail (#1654), which branch off of the Bear Creek trail (#1653) at about the historic Bear Creek Guard Station. Bear Creek is in the northern tier of the Eagle Cap Wilderness and sandwiched between the Minam River to the west and the Lostine River to the east. Bear Creek eventually flows past the town of Wallowa, before emptying into the Wallowa River.
Starting from the trailhead at the end of the Bear Creek Road (elevation of 3800 feet), the Bear Creek trail follows the stream for 5.5 miles to the historic guard station (no longer used). Elevation gain is 900 feet. Ample opportunities to set up a base camp exist along the stream in this area. Also here, the Goat Creek trail takes off to the east. The Dobbin Creek trail takes off to the west from Bear Creek about a mile further upstream.
The Goat Creek trail starts at an elevation of 4400 feet elevation and follows the stream for 3 miles at a moderate gradient. It then climbs steeply for 2.5 miles, topping out in the alpine meadows of Huckleberry Mountain (elevation of 7700 feet).
The Dobbin Creek trail starts at 4400 feet, climbs steadily for 3 miles, and connects with other trails at about 7000 feet elevation. The upper mile of trail goes through an old burn with many dead trees that are conspiring to bury the trail. Wildflowers are abundant in the burn area and the alpine meadows beyond.
Both trails haven’t been maintained much in recent years so we will be restoring the tread and removing logs and brush. We will focus on those sections of trail where restoration is most needed. Some days we may be accompanied by the local trail volunteer group (Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association).
We will meet at the Bear Creek trailhead on Saturday afternoon (August 3) and hike the 5.5 miles to the base camp. Our tools, food, and cooking supplies will be transported by mule, although each person will haul their backpack with personal gear.
We will work on trails between Sunday and Thursday. For those who choose, we will take a half day on Tuesday afternoon to hike into the high country. We will work only in the morning on Thursday and then hike back to the trailhead in the early afternoon. An optional group meal that afternoon at Terminal Gravity in Enterprise will wrap up the trip.
What to expect
Weather in the Eagle Cap Wilderness is at its finest in August so expect sunshine with moderate temperatures. Thunderstorms can occur in the afternoon or at night but are relatively rare. The mosquitoes will have died off by August.
We will be camping in tents and cooking our own food. You will be responsible for bringing food that suits you best — be sure to calculate how much you will need (more is better). We will have a communal camp stove, pots and pans, and water filter. Nearby Bear Creek provides welcome bathing at the end of the day. If we camp near the guard station we will have an outhouse to use. Otherwise, it is just the woods.
The walk to the base camp will be moderately strenuous along a well-maintained trail. The trail work will be strenuous and increasingly so as our work progresses further up the trails. Nevertheless, you won’t be expected to work beyond your comfort level. Crew size will be no more than 12.
Communication with the outside world is limited to a Forest Service radio that may or not receive reception in our locations. The crew leader is trained in emergency first aid and others on the crew may also have such training. Ground-based search and rescue teams in the area are quite good.
The focus of this trip will be to work safely, enjoy the beauty of this wilderness and social interactions with team members, and give back to the maintenance of trails sorely needing attention.
Crew Leader: Chip Andrus
Hike Distance: 5.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Work Difficulty: Hard
Work Description: Maintaining trail in rugged terrain.
Keywords: Eagle Cap Wilderness, trail maintenance, Goat Creek trail, multi-day.