Badger Creek and the Divide Trail
Starting in the afternoon at High Prairie on the northwest corner of the Badger Creek Wilderness within Mt. Hood National Forest, I set out on foot down the rocky Bennet Pass Rd, the historic route now 4x4 route that runs along the west boundary of the wilderness. There were some incredible views out over highway 35 and looking at Bluegrass Ridge and Elk Meadows on Hoods eastern side. Once on Gumjuwac Saddle, I followed the Gumjuwac Trail down into the wilderness as it travels along the creek. The trail pops in an out of small meadows and clearings as it descends, pretty well distinguished for a lesser used trail with its share of downed logs and some brush to move through.
I followed the creek as it flowed down the valley, stopping by to check out a waterfall before heading up the Badger Creek Cutoff Trail. This trail rises up out of the center of the Wilderness from the creek to the junction of trails on 2730-200, the road heading to the Flag Point Lookout. It is seldom used trail and has some sections of extensive overgrowth and downed trees, but is easy to follow. From the road the Divide Trail No. 458 travels east along the rim of the Badger Creek Drainage all the way back to Gumjuwac Saddle then down to Badger Lake. The trail passes by some incredible rock spires and cliffs on the way to Lookout Mountain, where I arrived just with the setting sun.