Wagner Butte is one of the classic hikes in our area – providing easy access to cooler climes, forests, and big views. We first hiked it in January through what passed for this year’s “snow pack.” At that go around, we missed the trailhead ( 😳 ) and did some artful cross-country walking through the forest to the upper part of the trail. This left a stain on our hiking honor. Now the time for redemption had arrived – we would try this hike again under bluebird conditions and from the correct trailhead! 😎
One reason the trailhead is hard to find is that all of the signage has been removed or shot away; only a small wooden sign, high in a tree remains. Sigh.
The trail starts as a trail and then joins an old road,
which you follow up to where it was obliterated by the 1983 Sheep Creek Slide, now a rolling expanse of restored vegetation. The trail is a single-track from here on.
We soon climbed up into sagebrush territory, where there were still a surprising number of flowers in evidence.
We continued on up to Wagner Glade Gap where the trail to the summit turns north from a trail that goes east and down into the upper Ashland watershed. [And now one that goes south up past Split Rock to McDonald Peak.)]
The “summit” – where the now gone lookout used to be – isn’t the highest point on the ridge, but its the rockiest and most open,
with truly expansive views in many directions.
We had a leisurely lunch on the summit before retracing our steps (10 miles round-trip; 2,200 feet of elevation gain). Even if you’re just passing through Southern Oregon, this is an easy to access, fun hike to a great viewpoint! 😀