A Challenging but Fascinating Hike in the Badger Creek Wilderness

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Kinzel Mine

Big animal moving through the Ponderosa pines, moving right to left about 25 yards away. Wait! Now there are five elk headed downhill toward Little Badger Creek.

I move a few steps to the left to get an alley for taking photos, but they picked up my scent. Crash! Bang! And they’re off like a freight train through the forest. No good pictures today.

Two keys to successful wildlife photography are to see the game first and stay downwind. I failed on the latter this time around.

The hike to the old Kinzel Mine in the Badger Creek Wilderness is always a treat. In early May I returned again.

The trail reaches 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 very 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.

Deep snow on the trail finally stopped me at around 5,000 feet, over 3,000 feet of elevation above the trailhead.

On the return hike, I enjoyed the wild orchids, lilies, butterflies and open vistas from the upper trail.

Silvery Blue Butterfly

An Elk “hiding” with an eye on me (A scene familiar to every Elk hunter that’s every lived)

Kinzel Mine shaft


Western Oak Duskywing Butterfly


A puddling event with Echo Azure Butterflies, although there is one Arrowhead Blue Butterfly in top left corner (thanks for the IDs Caitlin)

Remains of the Kinzel cabin

Anise Swallowtail Butterfly

Red-flowering Currant

Elk on the run

Glacier Lily








Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: ,

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