I have written about hiking to the old Kinzel Mine in the Badger Creek Wilderness several times in the past. The area draws me back once or twice a year.
In late April I returned to see if a bear could be found. I had a spring bear permit for the White River Unit.
As usual the bears manged to perform an excellent job of staying invisible as did the elk and deer.
But, it provided a great excuse for tackling the 16-mile out-and-back hike for the entire length of the Little Badger Creek Trail.
This is about the most enjoyable mid-elevation hike around. A portion of the trail follows the burbling stream along the valley bottom, reaching the remains of the Kinzel Cabin near a pleasant campsite after four miles.
Nearby is the old Kinzel mine shaft entering the canyon wall for about 80 feet.
After a tough ascent to the top of the ridge, the trail continues to climb to over a mile high at its upper end where it meets the Divide Trail. There was still snow on the ground in areas.
On the return hike, I enjoyed the wild orchids, lilies, butterflies and open vistas from the upper trail.