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Gumjuwac-Badger Lake Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Badger Lake (bobcat)
Gumjuwac Creek near its confluence with Badger Creek (bobcat)
White-vein pyrola (Pyrola picta), Divide Trail (bobcat)
On the Gumjuwac Trail below the saddle (bobcat)
Map showing the route in red (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Gumjuwac TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Badger Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Lollipop loop
  • Distance: 11.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3,155 feet
  • High Point: 5,345 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

The Gumjuwac Trail gives the shortest access to the Badger Creek Wilderness for hikers coming from the west side of the Cascades. The shorter drive time, and the luxury of beginning from a paved road rather than the rough tracks that lead closer to Badger Lake, make it an excellent option for a day hike in the wilderness. The path switchbacks up to Gumjuwac Saddle for two and a half miles, and then you can descend into the Badger Creek valley to make a loop through dry meadows, shady montane forest with several springs, and large patches of huckleberries. The destination is Badger Lake itself, a serene expanse of water that can also be reached by high-clearance vehicles.

From the trailhead on the north side of the East Fork Hood River road bridge, switchback up three times to the junction with the old trail. Douglas-fir, western red-cedar and western hemlock dominate. As you rise, larger Douglas-firs appear. Make six more switchbacks, traverse up, switchback, and then traverse up again. Enter the silver fir zone and make two more switchbacks under a rocky outcrop. Mountain hemlock, lodgepole pine, and western white pine enter the mix. Switchback again and round a rocky promontory which affords a spectacular view of Mount Hood. Chinquapin and manzanita are the predominant shrubs. Begin a long, fairly level traverse under silver fir, noble fir, mountain hemlock and Engelmann spruce. Pass above two springs, the second one, Jack Spring, right below the trail. Finally, reach Gumjuwac Saddle on the Bennett Pass Road (FR 3550). The historic sign that details the purported origin of the saddle's name has recently (2014) been repaired and reinstalled. Trails head off from here in five directions.

Continue on Gumjuwac Trail #480 straight across the road. The trail drops in silver fir woods. There are views to Lookout Mountain. Switchback in a lush elderberry thicket and cross a creek. There are meadows rimmed by noble fir. Pass under some large spruces and through more meadows supporting lush growths of arrow-leaf groundsel, wormwood, goldenrod, and horsemint. In stony patches, creamy stonecrop predominates. Keep on a steady descent. Grand fir appears and there are a few aspen to be seen. Cross another creek and head down in more open forest. Switchback twice and make a long traverse down. There may be some blowdown to negotiate. Cross a creek and hear Gumjuwac Creek running to your right. Descend in younger woodland of Engelmann spruce, mountain hemlock, noble fir and silver fir. A few ponderosa pines appear and you arrive at the Badger Creek-Gumjuwac Trail Junction.

Go right and cross the footbridge over Gumjuwac Creek. The woods are composed of cedar, Douglas-fir and silver fir. Wade through thimbleberry thickets. The woods here are swampy, with many small seeps. Get close to Badger Creek, which runs to your left. Cross a creek and wade through huckleberries under Douglas-fir, silver fir, noble fir, western larch and Englemann spruce. A spur leads left. This is a loop that will cross the creek and head up to the access road, whence you can go right for the lake. There is the option of walking the 0.8 mile loop around the lake, part of it unmaintained. Cross another creek and rise into dry woods above the lake. Another spur left leads to the lake. There is a hike in/drive in campground here. In early fall, the larch will be turning in the forest on the slopes of Badger Butte above the lake.

Continue on the Badger Creek Trail to cross a draw and come to the weathered sign at the Badger Creek-Divide Trail Junction. Go right but be prepared to scramble over blowdown. Vanilla leaf, starry solomon plume, wild ginger and wood fern form a lush carpet on this slope under silver and noble fir. Traverse up and cross a couple of creeks. The trail rises more gently and there are a couple of views of Gordon Butte, Flag Point and the dry plains farther east. Descend from a ridge and cross a small creek lush with swamp onion and white rhododendron. The trail levels and you cross another small swamp. The huckleberry bushes in this area attract foraging bears in late August. Begin to drop when the Bennett Pass Road appears to your left. Reach Gumjuwac Saddle and descend the Gumjuwac Trail to the trailhead.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Mt. Hood, OR #462
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Columbia Wilderness and Badger Creek Wilderness
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Barlow Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • Adventure Maps: Hood River, Oregon, Trail Map

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 105 Virtual Hikes of the Mt. Hood National Forest by Northwest Hiker
  • Hiking Oregon's Mount Hood & Badger Creek Wilderness by Fred Barstad
  • 70 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don and Roberta Lowe
  • 62 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don and Roberta Lowe
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • A Guide to the Trails of Badger Creek by Ken and Ruth Love (Trails described individually)
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Snowshoe Routes: Oregon by Shea Andersen (to Gumjuwac Saddle and Lookout Mt.)

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.