Fifteenmile Creek, designated as a Wild & Scenic River in 2009, remains one of my favorite areas to hike in mid-spring or early fall. The upper drainage lies just north of the Badger Creek Wilderness.
Getting out of the car on a beautiful sunny morning at over 4,000 feet, the first impression was the strong and pungent smell of ponderosa pines.
Soon I was heading down the trail by the Creek. Meeting the Cedar Creek Trail at a bridge crossing, I began the interesting 10-mile loop hike.
After reaching an open ridgetop, the views extended from Lookout Mountain, to Mt. Adams and to the irrigated farmlands of Central Oregon.
Among the wildflowers in bloom were grass widows. Three months prior and 3,500 feet lower, grass widows were in bloom on the east side of the Columbia River Gorge. Like most wilderness hikers, I enjoy following the wildflowers as they bloom higher and higher during the year.
After crossing the lower foot bridge, I turned uphill to begin the return leg of the hike, knowing it would be a healthy elevation gain.
But, it was worth it – – – a little over five hours of true enjoyment.