Mileage: 17 miles for the loop
Elevation Gain/Highest: 3200/4700ft
Map: Green Trails No. 211s Wenatchee/Mission Ridge
3/21/2015 We had some fun staying in Leavenworth one weekend and being early in the season when snow was still at the higher elevations (and I was looking for a longer trail), we opted to do a loop on Mission Ridge then back down on Devil’s Gulch.
This trail is typical of those accessible to mountain bikes and motorcycles: deep ruts and eroded switchbacks. You could almost hear the whine of the engines and smell of the exhaust.
However, we didn’t experience any of these things on our trip, maybe because there were a couple trees down making navigation a bit hard for wheeled transportation. Or maybe we just lucked out. Don’t let me dissuade you, it was worth the gamble.
The views were expansive and it had everything a hike on the east slope of the Cascades offers: tall Ponderosa pines with their deeply grooved bark and clinging lime green moss, the smell of DRY in the air, and distant hillsides carpeted in sagebrush. Some sections heading up were quite steep, the ridge is narrow and there are no switchbacks.
There was no water flowing for us, but I hear there is some available on the ascent before the ridge walk. I wouldn’t count on it, though, and carry what you need. Part of the trail is in burn, you can expect new undergrowth and fireweed to brighten the landscape.
The junction for the connector trail to Devil’s Gulch is about 8 miles into the Mission Ridge Trail (which continues down to FR 9712). From here you head down from the ridge on the slope and into the gully trail that will take you back down to your car at the TH.
Directions: Head over HWY 2 to the town of Cashmere (home of Aplets and Cotlets). Turn right onto Aplets Way from 97, it will veer right to become Division St. Shortly, turn left onto Mission Creek Rd. The road continues for 6.7 miles (with a brief right at a stop sign and bridge crossing) to stay on the road. You will feel like you are heading out into no man’s land with homesteaders and auto salvage in people’s backyards but you will know you are on the right track. The pavement ends and you will see sign for FR 7100, continue another 2.5 miles and the TH will be on your left. There is a privy and you will need a Northwest Forest Pass.