Wagner Butte is located in the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest just southwest of the town of Ashland in Oregon. Wagner Butte overlooks the Bear Creek Valley from Medford through Ashland. On a clear day, there are views of the Rogue and Applegate Valleys and surrounding mountain peaks from Mt. Shasta to Mt. Thielsen.
Wagner Butte is located in a unique geological area of mountains that links the Cascades on the east to the Siskiyou Mountains in the west. The trail up Wagner Butte is a 9.4-mile out-and-back trail that passes through many different and interesting geologic areas with a large diversity of flora and is home to a great variety of wildlife as well. See the Wagner Butte Trail page for more details:
Wagner Butte was crowned with a fire lookout, but it was removed in 1972.
An interesting geological event occurred in 1983 when a massive landslide moved down the south side of the mountain during a summertime thunderstorm. The Wagner Butte Trail passes directly over this area and there is a sign for the hiker to read.
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. Jacob Wagner arrived in 1852 and completed his house in 1853. During the summer of 1853 Captain Alden and his men from Yreka California built a fort on Wagner's property to help protect early settlers from the Indians. The fort was also used as a place of worship.
The summit is listed at 7,140 ft, but this is where the fire lookout was located. The true highpoint summit is about ¾ mile south and is at 7,255 ft. It is an easy cross-country hike to the true highpoint and this makes for an interesting side trip on your way back down. You can access the highpoint and then continue south until you intersect the Wagner Butte Trail.
To find the Wagner Butte Trailhead, drive to Talent on Interstate 5. Take Exit 21, zero your odometer, and head west on Valley View Ave. Pass by the Wal Mart and cross over Old Highway 99 at the signal and continue to Talent Ave which is .6 mile from the I-5 Exit. Turn left on Talent Ave., and then in 100 yards turn right on Wagner Street. Watch your speed through the school zone and at 1.0 mile from I-5 turn right on Wagner Creek Road.
Wagner Creek Road is paved for the next 4.8 miles and then turns to a good gravel road. At 8.2 miles from I-5 go left otherwise you end up in an active logging area. Stay on this road until you reach an intersection at mile 9.6, then turn left on the signed good gravel road 22. Follow this road another 2.1 miles to the Trailhead. The trailhead is signed “Wagner Butte Trail No. 1011” on the left side of the road and there is a large parking area on the right. The trailhead elevation is 4,960 ft.
There is no “Red Tape” associated with this mountain. No permits required. For more information contact the local ranger station. Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest
Applegate Ranger District Ashland Ranger District
6941 Upper Applegate Road 645 Washington Street
Jacksonville, OR 97530 Ashland, OR 97520
Tel. 541-899-3800 Tel. 541-552-2900
There is some camping along the I-5 corridor, but no National Forest Camping nearby. There is plenty of room for car camping at the Trailhead.
There is backpack camping available in the Wagner Gap area and also near the summit. These are not developed sites so practice Leave No Trace guidelines.
The mountain is accessible in late Spring through the end of October. You should always be wary of the weather. Winter storms dump several feet of snow on Wagner Butte and Road 22 is not cleared. The heat of summer can be intense, so climb in the morning. Summer thunderstorms can also be problematic, so check the weather before you climb.
Winter travel in the area can be problematic.
Summer hiking could be quite hot. The mountain is not tall enough to get above the 100 degree plus temperatures in the valley. This would be a good morning hike.
For current weather conditions in Medford follow this link