OverviewMt Melissa is the northeasternmost of the 9000 foot peaks in the the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Standing alone across McCully Basin from East and Hidden Peaks, Mt Melissa is #25 on the Oregon Top 100 list and has 528 feet of prominence. No defined trail leads to the summit, although the McCully Basin Trail skirts along the mountain's western base to a high pass over nearby Wing Ridge. Technically the mountain is unnamed according to USGS topographic maps, however the ammo box summit-register identifies the mountain, this register was placed by a climbing group from Eastern Oregon College. Mt Melissa appears on some lists as McCully Little Sheep Divide or East McCully Basin Peak.
This is a mountain that sees a surprising amount of hikers thanks to easy access from a couple directions. From the Tenderfoot Trailhead its a mere 4.5 miles to the summit with 2500 feet of elevation gain. From the McCully Creek Trailhead its 5 miles to the pass over Wing Ridge and another mile back to the NE and the summit with roughly 3000 feet of elevation gain. Either approach can be easily completed as a dayhike.
About 1 mile south of Mt Melissa is the highest point of Wing Ridge, a point you will either scramble around or over if hiking from Tenderfoot TH.
Wing Ridge reaches 9060 feet of elevation with approximately 360 feet of prominence. If you choose to bag this ridge expect an extra 400 feet of elevation gain.
There are several different ways to approach Mt Melissa. The McCully Basin Trail passes within a mile of the summit, this trail can be accessed from one of the two following trailheads.
Tenderfoot TH: Follow Imnaha Highway 8 miles east out of Joseph to the turn off for the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road at the bottom of the Little Sheep Creek Canyon. Turn South and follow the narrow paved highway 13 miles to the turn off for NFD 100 on the right hand (west) side of the road. NFD 100 is a rough lightly maintained 4x4 road. Follow this road 3 miles to the trailhead.
McCully Creek TH: 5 miles east of Joseph on the Imnaha Highway is Tucker Down Road on the south side of the highway. Turn right on Tucker Down and follow it 3.5 miles to a Y. Take a right on NFD 3920 follow it 0.9 miles to another Y, take a right again, travel another 0.8 miles to a Y where you will continue straight ahead to TH in less than a mile. Directions can also be found on the Eagle Cap Wilderness Website.
Red Tape - When to HikeFill out a wilderness permit at the trailhead, NW Forest Pass may be required for parking at trailheads.
Government Website for the Eagle Cap Wilderness