On Saturday, April 22, my older brother Oliver (below, right), fiancé Nat (below, center), and I stuffed the essentials for survival into our backpacking packs and began our trek along Badger Creek Trail #479. The trailhead is located right next to Bonney Crossing Campground, west of Tygh Valley, Oregon. To reach Badger Creek Trail you have to drive along a series of gravel roads and down a steep hill, but as long as you pay attention to the signage and take it slow you’ll make it just fine!
Badger Creek Trail
Badger Creek Trail is an easy-moderate hike that follows Badger Creek most of the way. It takes you up the side of the canyon at around 2-3 miles in and then back down to the creek again. The forest is quite dense in some areas but eventually opens up with little to no underbrush in other areas. This makes for a fun, varied hike through the wilderness!
The trail is about 12 miles one way to Badger Lake. You will find great camping spots every mile or so along the trail. The farther you hike the greater the distance between each camp spot. Of course you could set up camp anywhere with a clearing, but it is nice to have the fire pit and sitting logs ready to go.
You will also notice more downed trees and overgrown brush covering the trail the farther you hike. Oliver felt determined to find the “best” camping spot and encouraged us to press on. Before we knew it, we had hiked in about 5-6 miles. We bushwhacked a lot toward the end, but it was all worth it for a sweet spot alongside Badger Creek.
The backpack I used was a hand me down from Oliver – which I was totally grateful for! – but I’m definitely grateful for the new Osprey pack* I recently purchased. :] I feel like everyone needs to experience at least one backpacking trip using a beat-up backpack before graduating to a fancy new one. It makes you a little more humble and appreciative of all the features once you do upgrade. Nat’s backpack was on its last legs, too, so he purchased a new Deuter pack*. We can’t wait to use our new packs!
We all packed in our own belongings, except for our tent that Nat carried (my brother brought his own tiny tent) and a cooking pan that Oliver packed in. Other than that, we all took care of our own stuff. Even food! I decided to keep it simple – salami, cheese, and crackers. It’s light, keeps well, and tastes so yummy. We all ended up bringing the same thing! I actually snagged the idea from Nat and Oliver. They packed the same food on their previous backpacking trip (they have gone three times this year already!) and reported that it worked out great. We also brought additional snacks like granola bars, peanuts, and other light goodies.
Although the meat, cheese, and crackers were delicious for lunch and dinner, I wanted to change it up for breakfast. I decided to pack instant oatmeal and prunes – this warm meal was so comforting, as it was pretty darn cold in the morning.
After I finished my instant coffee, I used the same mug to make my oatmeal. Multi-purpose tool! Oliver and Nat went for the classic ramen for breakfast. They also tossed in some salami, carrots, and avocado. Sounds gross? It was actually tasty! Yes, I did indeed try some. Since we brought spoons but no forks, the boys were forced to eat their ramen with twigs. Hey, it worked.
In total we hiked 10-12 miles (we didn’t make it to Badger Lake – too much snow and bushwhacking). It took us about 3.5 hours to hike in and only 2 hours to hike out with snack breaks along the way. Badger Creek Trail makes for a great day hike or backpacking trip with its beautiful wooded scenery, close proximity to the creek, and all the camping spots along the way.
* this is not an affiliate link – I’m not compensated in any way – and all opinions and recommendations are my own