School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
User avatar
bobcat
Posts: 2508
Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by bobcat » June 14th, 2022, 3:44 pm

I drove with a friend and her golden doodle Gracey out to the Badger Creek Wilderness via Tygh Valley. The clouds and drizzle had stacked up against the Cascade crest, so we had fine weather on the east side, sometimes with a stiff, cool breeze.

We parked at the Little Badger Creek Trailhead, but immediately headed straight uphill from the wilderness sign, taking the off trail route to the School Canyon Trailhead. A ponderosa parkland gave way to oak woods and open meadows. The Cascades were obscured, but we got views up the Little Badger valley to Gordon Butte and Flag Point. When we reached the paved FR 27, we turned left and, in short order, arrived at the School Canyon Trailhead, where one vehicle was parked.

Wilderness sign, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Ponderosa parkland, off trail, Little Badger Creek.jpg
Small-flowered penstemon (Penstemon procerus), off trail, Little Badger Creek.jpg
View to Gordon Butte and Flag Point, off trail, Little Badger Creek.jpg
Into oak woods, off trail, Little Badger Creek.jpg
Kiosk, School Canyon Trail.jpg

The School Canyon Trail follows a ridgeline between Little Badger and Tygh creeks through lovely oak woods. We got frequent views back to the Pine Hollow Reservoir, Juniper Flat, and the White River valley. Ball Point loomed ahead, with its pate scalded by a 2007 fire. The trail crosses a high saddle and traverses the north slope of Ball Point above Tygh Creek. Here we met the only other hiker of the day and his dog. Soon we entered a mixed coniferous forest, passing rock formations below Felt Tip before reaching the open manzanita clearings at the junction with the Little Badger Creek Trail. Small springs were running here, something I have never seen before in May or June, and Gracey slaked her thirst.

View to Ball Point from beginning of School Canyon Trail.jpg
Annual white paintbrush (Castilleja tenuis), School Canyon Trail.jpg
Approaching Ball Point, School Canyon Trail.jpg
Desert yellow daisy (Erigeron linearis), School Canyon Trail.jpg
View to Pine Hollow Reservoir, School Canyon Trail.jpg
Common bastard toad-flax (Comandra umbellata), School Canyon Trail.jpg
Prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), School Canyon Trail.jpg
Silver-crown luina (Cacaliopsis nardosmia), School Canyon Trail.jpg
Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii), School Canyon Trail.jpg
Gracey slurping, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Junction with Little Badger Creek Trail, School Canyon Trail.jpg

We headed a little west on Little Badger to take the spur down to Helispot #122, where the sign has much deteriorated since I last saw it, and then had lunch sheltered among the Gnome Rocks. Here, little bonsai ponderosas sprout out of impossible crannies and views extend up and down the Little Badger drainage. After lunch, we headed farther east to find Junction Spring, which was running big and strong in its shady cedar grove.

Helispot sign, Gnome Rocks, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Baboon god, Gnome Rocks, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Sulphur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum), Gnome Rocks, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Bonsai ponderosas, Gnome Rocks, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Cardwell's penstemon, (Penstemon cardwellii), Gnome Rocks, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Ponderosa on the rocks, Gnome Rocks, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Pine Hollow Reservoir from Gnome Rocks, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Junction Spring, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg

Then we returned to take the Little Badger Trail down the steep ridge where western junipers have staked a presence. When we got to the valley floor, we stopped at the Kinzel Mine and then the Kinzel Cabin. Tom Kinzel’s belongings keep getting moved about, and we found his washbasin set against a Douglas-fir. The cabin itself got whacked by a tree in the 1970s and has been slowly reverting to the substrate ever since.

Kinzel Mine, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Kinzel Cabin, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Bed, Kinzel Cabin, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Wash stand, Kinzel Cabin, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg

The Little Badger Creek Trail keeps above the creek for a while and then drops to follow right along it, the fresh cool stream burbling over mossy cobbles under a canopy of cedars. The trails were in great condition, with only one downed tree on the Little Badger Trail necessitating a little scramble through and around.

Cedars on the creek, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Woolly-head clover (Trifolium eriocephalum), Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg
Leafy passage, Little Badger Creek Trail.jpg

jortina
Posts: 19
Joined: May 28th, 2019, 10:03 am

Re: School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by jortina » June 15th, 2022, 6:45 am

Love this area, thanks for the trail report! That wash basin made a great place to perch our camp stove when we backpacked there a couple of years ago :D

User avatar
Pick-a-Pika
Posts: 28
Joined: June 23rd, 2016, 7:14 pm
Location: Upper Hood River Valley

Re: School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by Pick-a-Pika » June 16th, 2022, 6:30 pm

We visited School Canyon on May 22. We took a short one up to Ball Point to see how the flowers were doing. It looks like you encountered even more flowers than us !

This area is lovely. And lightly traveled. Only one other party was encountered. The weather might permit one more visit before the area turns blazing hot. Thanks for the post and pictures, Bobcat.

MtnHiker
Posts: 3
Joined: December 8th, 2021, 1:02 pm

Re: School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by MtnHiker » June 17th, 2022, 2:49 pm

How was the deadfall on School Canyon? We have a crew headed that way next week. I am surprised you only had one tree to go over on Little Badger...a few weeks ago there were six. Did it look like there was some recent clearing of fallen trees? Thanks for the info.

G.

User avatar
bobcat
Posts: 2508
Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

Re: School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by bobcat » June 17th, 2022, 7:47 pm

A handful of stepover trees on School Canyon. Not much on Little Badger below the junction apart from that one tree. We didn’t go far on Little Badger above the junction. As you know, the upper section is likely to have more blowdown.

User avatar
Don Nelsen
Posts: 4171
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by Don Nelsen » June 18th, 2022, 7:52 am

Nice TR and Photos! That's another hike I've yet to do, so thanks for posting.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

keithcomess
Posts: 106
Joined: April 24th, 2019, 8:04 pm

Re: School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by keithcomess » June 19th, 2022, 10:09 am

Is the gravel road to the trailhead passable with a 2WD Mini Cooper? I sold my 4WD and now my access abilities on bumpy gravel roads is pretty limited. I think the "bumpy" section is on Rd 2710

https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guid ... _Trailhead

Beargrass
Posts: 11
Joined: November 29th, 2021, 3:41 pm

Re: School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by Beargrass » June 19th, 2022, 10:29 am

MtnHiker wrote:
June 17th, 2022, 2:49 pm
How was the deadfall on School Canyon? We have a crew headed that way next week. I am surprised you only had one tree to go over on Little Badger...a few weeks ago there were six. Did it look like there was some recent clearing of fallen trees? Thanks for the info.

G.
I did the loop with the flag point add on a few days before this. There was alot of blowdown on upper little badger and the tyge creek/little badger connector. Main school canyon had very little.

User avatar
bobcat
Posts: 2508
Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

Re: School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by bobcat » June 19th, 2022, 12:56 pm

keithcomess wrote:
June 19th, 2022, 10:09 am
Is the gravel road to the trailhead passable with a 2WD Mini Cooper?
From Tygh Valley - yes. There will be a few potholes you'll have to weave through and around. This year, I haven't been farther towards Badger Creek itself on 2710. There was always a rough somewhat rocky section in there but can't attest to its condition this year.

User avatar
adamschneider
Posts: 3510
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: SE Portland
Contact:

Re: School Canyon – Little Badger Creek Loop 6-13-22

Post by adamschneider » June 19th, 2022, 2:01 pm

I've been up there a few times in a tiny car and had no issues. Typical 4-digit gravel forest roads.

Post Reply