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Wagner Butte, OR July 2019

AG7GP's picture
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Good, very usable
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Good, very usable
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Wagner Butte is a harder hike mainly due to distance, but is at the top of my list of favorites. It will be a good 10 mile hike round trip with about 2200' gain, if using the trail. Wagner is part of our family cattle range and being familiar with the area we took a short cut through some NF up past the trailhead, to knock a couple miles and a few hundred feet elevation off the hike. It wasn't part of our daily plan to activate, we were checking on a natural spring (Cold Spring) and getting a feel for if a shortcut could be possible in the future. I took my new MTR3B and qrp gear with me to test out and “just in case” we reached the top. We hiked through the forest then merged onto the trail about midway, and then took the trail the rest of the way up, so I cannot offer a lot of feedback for the trail as a whole, other than it is a very established, used trail. There is a combination of nice shaded wooded areas, sage brush, open meadows, and thick spring groves along the way. It is a beautiful hike.

When the trail reaches the top of the ridge, the summit is to the right and very rocky. Off to the left is the path to what used to be a lookout, but it is not in the contour line (I did not explore this area). I set up a pole in the rocks and made some good contacts until I got tired of the ants biting me! Coming back down, we got low on water and took advantage of Cold Spring at our own discretion, go for highest pipe if you choose (there is an old green, unused water trough near this spring). The available water was handy and we did not get sick. Spectacular views of the Rogue Valley, Applegate, Siskiyous, Grizzly Peak, Mt Ashland, Mt Shasta, etc. We hiked in memory of Hap, my father in law, who re-cut and reestablished this historic trail for range work by horse many years ago, but I had never been up it. I hope to make this a regular.

Follow road maps up Wagner Creek Road from Talent, keep left at cattle guard to NF Rd 22. Large parking area opposite trailhead on right.