Wagner Butte 6-26-24

Photos by Francie

Ashland Hiking Home

We had 7 hikers meet up to hike Wagner Butte. The temperatures in the valley were predicted to be in the upper 80s so we were happy to be at a higher elevation. The mountain is named after an early settler, Jacob Wagner, who lived in the Talent area and operated the flour mill near the Ashland plaza. The trailhead starts at a little under 5,000 feet of elevation and climbs up to 7,140.

The trail crosses a small timber sale unit before following an abandoned road for 1.2 miles to the Sheep Creek Slide. The debris slide was 4 miles long and happened in 1983 during a severe thunderstorm. There were over 400,000 tons of material that slid down the mountainside. When we were at the information sign, I told the group that there was an off-trail climb that can be done and gets you going straight up the mountain and reconnects the trail in the quaking aspen grove. No one wanted to explore that option. We passed through the wet meadow and saw some nice wildflowers.

As we continued up the trail, we noticed some haze from the nearby Upper Applegate Fire. We were happy to have much of the trail in the shade. When we got to the Wagner Glad Gap, we took a little break before continuing on. As we passed the green trough, I knew we were getting close to our destination.

The trail passes below and by the actual summit of Wagner Butte and continues to the location of the former Forest Service Lookout that was originally built in the 1920. In the 1960s it was replaced with a cupola style lookout that was removed in the 1970s

Six of us climbed the rocks and went to the former lookout location. Scott stayed below in the shade. This was the first time for Mark to do this hike and he was impressed with the views. We had a nice lunch and enjoyed ourselves. We were surprised there wasn't more smoke from the fire in the Applegate.

We returned back down to the trailhead to our cars and had hiked 10.26 miles and gained over 2,300 feet of elevation. On the drive home, we had to stop and wait for some tree trimming along Wagner Creek Road. It must have been a big project as we also waited on our drive in the morning.