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Wagner Butte Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

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Just below Wagner Glade Gap at 6600' (B. Hope)
Approaching the summit in winter(B. Hope)
View from the summit (B. Hope)
Map of Wagner Butte hike (red track) (B. Hope)
  • Start point: Wagner Butte TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Wagner Butte Trailhead
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Distance: 10.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2,200 feet
  • High Point: 7,140 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No (can be on weekends in Summer)


Hike Description

Wagner Butte was the site of a former Forest Service Lookout originally built in the 1920s and replaced with a cupola style Lookout in the 1960s. The lookout was intentionally burned by smokejumpers in 1972, as airplane surveillance became a more efficient way to locate forest fires. 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.

This is a plesant hike that allows you to reach a 7,140 foot summit on an evident and moderately-graded trail. On clear days, the views from the summit are spectacular, with panoramic views of the Rogue and Little Applegate Valleys and surrounding mountain peaks. These great views may even be available when winter inversions shroud the Rogue Valley below in a low cloud deck. Displays of wildflowers may be seen in late spring and early summer. In winter, snow conditions permitting, you may be able to access the trailhead snow-free but still have a fun snow hike or snowshoe to the summit.

Beginning on Forest Road 22, the trail crosses a small timber sale unit before following an abandoned roadbed for 1.2 miles to the edge of the massive 1983 Sheep Creek Slide. After crossing the slide, the old road gives way to a trail that climbs steeply for about two miles to Wagner Glade Gap, passing through old growth stands of Douglas, Noble and white fir. Deer and bear are frequently sighted within the glade area. From Wagner Glade the trail turns sharply to the left (a trail also continues straight ahead into the Ashland Watershed and another trail goes right to Split Rock - these are not the trails you want) and gradually ascends the western flank of Wagner Butte for two miles, ending at a rock outcrop that used to support a fire lookout. A very faded hard-to-read sign relates the history of this spot. NOTE: At the summit some minor scrambling is required to get up and over the rocks.


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Hiking Southern Oregon by Art Bernstein and Zach Urness (2014 edition, Hike #62)
  • 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon by William L. Sullivan (Third Edition, Hike #60)
  • Rogue River National Forest (Oregon) Location map (very useful for making sense of the forest roads)

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.