With approximately 55 miles of trails and located near Dufur Oregon Badger Creek Wilderness exists in a “rain shadow” created by the Cascades. Sheltered from prevailing rain-bearing winds the area remains dryer year-round making it perfect for an early spring excursion when many other Oregon trails are still buried in snow. It can be accessible as early as mid-March and its highest elevations are usually snow free by May with wildflower displays peaking mid-May.
Intrigued by the unique names of features surrounding School Canyon Trail like Ball Point and Felt Tip Peaks I devised a route that starts at the School Canyon Trail head. Three and a half miles in it leads to a rock garden, a helicopter landing spot viewpoint, and small spring. All three have established campsites with fire rings. There is no shortage of firewood in the area and campsites near the spring have trees perfectly spaced for hammocking.
One very steep and switchback-less mile below the spring an old abandon mine sits just above Little Badger Creek. Said to be dug 80 feet into the hillside you can catch a glimpse inside the mine in the video posted above. Just below the mine sits the remains of the miner’s cabin where he lived while hoping to unearth his riches. There is an established campsite by the cabin and the creek is a reliable water source.
A few miles beyond the miner’s cabin Little Badger Creek Trial ends at a national forest road. I chose to hike along the road to Little Badger Campground. It is a primitive drive in campground with only 3 campsites, a table at each site, and a pit toilet. Unfortunately for me all 3 spots were taken so I continued along the forest roads back to my car at the start of School Canyon Trail.
My 3 day itinerary made for low mile days, leisurely mornings, and allowed plenty of time to explore the unique features along these trails. It was the perfect way to shake off my winter legs and get back into it after several months on the couch.
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