Chief Illiniwek at Bagby Hot Springs  LbNA # 51239

Placed DateNov 2 2009
LocationEstacada, OR
Found By NWgranola
Last Found Apr 17 2010
Hike Distance?

I grew up in Illini country, where the local university employed the chief of the local tribe as a mascot for eighty years. The chief was always represented in a respectful, noble, and dignified manner. Everyone loved to watch him perform at sporting events. Then it became a political issue that a native American tribe member was being 'used' in this manner. The Chief danced his last dance at the University Of Illinois in 2007.

My mom was visiting me this year, and her husband recently retired from the U of I. We all hiked out to Bagby Hot Springs to enjoy the forest, the springs, and leave a memento of our beloved Chief Illiniwek.

"Getting There: To find Bagby Hot Springs from Interstate 205 near Oregon City, take exit 12 and follow signs east 18 miles to Estacada. Go straight, continuing 26 miles on Highway 224 to the bridge at Ripplebrook. Then, following signs for Bagby Hot Springs, keep straight on paved Road 46 for 3.6 miles, turn right onto paved Road 63 for 3.5 miles, and turn right onto paved Road 70 for 6 miles to the trailhead parking lot on the left, where a Northwest Forest Pass is required ($5 per car per day). Leave no valuables in your car, as this area has a history of theft.

Fees: Recreation Fee Pass (Northwest Forest Pass) parking permits are required at the trailhead. They cost $5 per car per day or $30 per season.

Hiking Tips: From the parking area, the trail crosses Nohorn Creek on a footbridge and launches into the woods. After 1.5 miles you'll reach a signboard at the hot springs. To the left is the bathhouse, with long benches outside for the waiting line. Remember the area's rules: no unleashed dogs, no music, no baths longer than an hour, and no soap. Swimsuits are rare." (Directions and info attributed to William Sullivan's Oregon Hikes.)

Once you reach the sign that reads "Bagby Hot Springs Forest Camp", follow the trail at 130 degrees for 35 steps; now follow Bagby Trail due south. When you are 11 miles from Elk Lake, continue south for 200 paces, until you come to a ponderosa pair just left of the trail. Behind them is a nurse stump with a sapling growing next to it. Under bark, amongst the conglomerate, is the Chief.