Our guidebook promised the views were well worth the 5.2 mile hike up to the top of Wagner Butte. Located west of Ashland, the trailhead was just a short drive from our home, so we packed our lunch and jumped in the trusty Subaru.
The fall day was sunny and warm, but not too hot…just right for a trek with a 2,200 foot elevation gain. “We can do this,” we assured each other.
The trail took us through a forest of old growth firs, across the site of an enormous 1983 landslide, through sagebrush meadows and even a grove of aspens.
A fire lookout was constructed atop Wagner Butte after a 1910 forest fire threatened Ashland. It remained in use until the early 1960s when airplanes began to take over fire surveillance. A leftover railing, old foundation piers and an incredible view reward hikers who reach the top.