Hike Difficulty: very challenging
Hike Length: 10.4 mi RT
Elevation Gain: 2180 ft (no, that’s not a mistype — my legs are crying, but my heart is happy)
My Rating (out of 5): 5.0 – I’ll just start by saying that you really have to be serious if you want to hike Wagner Butte. I knew this going into it, and it still kicked my butt (in a good way?)
This was my second attempt to find the trailhead, which, thanks to Google Maps, was successful this time. I found it by taking Wagner Creek Road to mile marker 7, then taking the next left on Brick Pile Road. From there, you follow the road until you see a sign that tells you the trail is in two miles. The trailhead sign has been knocked out and someone hung a maroon shirt in its place. That didn’t help much. I found the parking lot on the right side of the road before I found the trail on the left.
In any case, Wagner Butte was a pretty amazing experience. It was like Grizzly Peak on steroids, and I loved Grizzly. The trail itself was pretty unforgiving. And never-ending. There were moments when it let you catch your breath, but other than that it was a pretty steady climb. I had to have thought to myself at least 4 times, “This is it, I’m getting close to the top,” only to find that I had barely even gone halfway. There’s always more mountain to climb just around the bend.
I loved the part at the end when you have to climb rocks to reach the overlook. My legs were pretty much jelly by that point, but the exhilaration of reaching the top drove me to climb. The summit offered pretty good views in every direction: Mt. Shasta, the Siskiyou Crest I walked on the other day, Mt. McLoughlin, and the cities of the valley.
In all, it took me 2.25 hrs to get to the top and 1.5 hrs to get back down. Not bad for 10 miles and 2200 elevation gain. Here’s a barrage of pictures: