Wagner Butte (Talent, Oregon) 16-Jun-2015

Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon

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.

Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
The sign (arrow) at the trailhead

The trail starts as a trail and then joins an old road,

Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
Along the trail

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.

Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
Sheep Creek Slide

We soon climbed up into sagebrush territory, where there were still a surprising number of flowers in evidence.

Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
Flowers along the trail
Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
An intricate blossom

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.)]

Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
Wagner Glade Gap

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,

Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
Approaching the old lookout site

with truly expansive views in many directions.

Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
The view north from the old lookout site
Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
Downtown Medford
Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
Pilot Rock (P), Mount Ashland (A), and Mount Shasta (S) to the south

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! 😀

Wagner Butte Rogue Valley Oregon
Red track is this hike; white track is last January’s cross-country adventure

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