During the winter, Mission Ridge is the Wenatchee area’s ski resort. Once the snow dries, it’s trails are used for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and trail runners. Mission Ridge is part of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and under the Wenatchee River Ranger District. Mission Ridge, Devils Gulch, and Tronson Ridge are the main trails in this system. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at any of its nine trailheads.
These trails are also used in the Devils Gulch 120 and 50-mile race. “I went van camping with my husband out in this area and found some trails way up on Mount Lillian that seemed almost unused, at least by runners. I ended up spending an entire weekend exploring the trails out in the area and was absolutely blown away by the beauty of this area. I wanted to show off the trails and the landscape, so I decided to start a race!” says Devils Gulch race director Jessie McClurg.
Devils Gulch – Mission Ridge is a 16-mile loop that starts from the Lower Devils Gulch Trailhead off of Forest Road 7100 about 30 minutes from Wenatchee. Head left from the trailhead to the Devils Gulch and Mission Ridge intersection. The loop comes back to this intersection, so either way is fine to go. Both ways are going to have a long climb to Mission Peak, where the trails join again. Most mountain bikers like to do Devils Gulch trail first because the Mission Peak trail is a little steeper and has some fun switchbacks. The Devils Gulch trail race goes clockwise around the loop. Both ways offer expansive views of the forest, the Cascade Mountains, and the high desert and over 4000 feet of total ascent.
A 10-mile, 2000′ run from the Devil’s Spur Trailhead near Mission Ridge Ski Resort is a great way to get a quick run and still get many of the vistas that the area provides. It starts with a two-mile climb up the Devil’s Spur Trail to Beehive Road/9712. Turn left on the road and continue climbing for another half-mile to the Pipeline Trail intersection. This loop will come back to this spot, so either direction is good. For our purposes, continue left up the forest road for another mile to the Squilchuck Trail. Turn left on Squilchuck for a short climb and then descend toward the ski resort for 1.7 miles. Before the ski resort is the Pipeline Trail. Pipeline is a flat trail that follows a ridge through the forest with a few views of Wenatchee. Beehive Road is reached in 2.2-miles. Turn right and head back to Devil’s Spur and the trailhead.