A short, easily accessed series of trails near Mission Ridge, this loop offers Wenatchee residents a good exercise fix, a quiet place to unwind, nice views out over the Columbia River, and a very restful wander through mixed forests of firs and larches. While part of the trail is well used (the trunk that goes to Clara Lake) you are unlikely to see others on the Pipeline and Squilchuck trails. This is a pleasant hike or ride any time of year but October, when the larches change, is particularly gorgeous. The route is used most by hikers but is also good ride for intermediate and advanced mountain bikers (you’ll want to do the loop in a counterclockwise direction so you ride down the trail from Clara Lake to Mission Ridge).
Maps: See our topo map (print on 8.5″ X 11″ paper in portrait mode).
GPS Info. Download this GPX file with the waypoints noted on our map.
Activity: Spring summer and fall: Hiking, mountain biking, trail running. Winter: cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Nearest Town: Wenatchee
Skill Level: 2 (intermediate) for hikers and 2+ (strong intermediate) for mountain biking.
Fitness Level: 2
Distance: About 6.75 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,050 vertical feet.
- From the Park and Ride on Mission Street at Lincoln Park, drive 11.5 miles to the Mission Ridge Ski Area. Park in the very outer part of the ski area’s lower parking lot (Waypoint C1). In the summer months the lower lot is often gated, park outside of the gate but in a way that won’t block the gate if the ski area is moving machinery around. The trailhead is right across the street from the lower parking area.
- An alternate summer access is to drive toward the Mission Ridge Ski Area and, 1 mile after Squilchuck State Park (about 8.1 miles from Wenatchee), turn right on the Beehive Road (Road 9712). Follow this road 4.3 miles to the Upper Devils Gulch Trailhead (pay close attention to the mileage because signage is poor). From this trailhead, you can jump onto the Pipeline Trail and head back toward Mission Ridge (this will have you doing the loop in a clockwise direction). Or you can walk/ride up the Road 9712 about a mile and then take the Squilchuck Trail over to Clara Lake (which will have you doing the loop in a counter-clockwise direction). Going counter-clockwise is the preferred direction if you’re mountain biking.
- From the trailhead at the ski area, walk/ride uphill toward Clara/Marion lakes. After 10 or 15 minutes of steady walking, the trail will intersect a narrow road bed (Waypoint P2). This road is called the Pipeline Trail by some, the Pipeline Road by others. Going left will take you to the ski area, going straight across and up takes you to Clara/Marion Lakes (Waypoints C2 and C3). For the complete loop, turn right – which takes you toward the Devils Gulch Trailhead (Waypoint D1). (Winter notes: Many cross-country skiers and snowshoers simply do an out-and-back on the Pipeline Trail. Access the Pipeline Trail as we’ve described here (skiers will probably need to walk this portion of the trail which is usually well packed but steep. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers can also ski/walk uphill about 0.5 miles on the road starting behind the ski area lodge and then turn right onto the Pipeline Trail which will be signed.)
- Follow Pipeline Road toward Devil’s Gulch for about 50 minutes of steady walking. This trail basically contours through the forests and offers an occasional view down toward Wenatchee and the Columbia River. After about two miles, the road intersects the Beehive Reservoir Road (Rd 9712). There is no signage identifying the road or where you are but, if you go straight across the road, you’ll enter the upper trailhead for the Devils Gulch Trail (Waypoint D1).
- Turn left and head uphill on Road 9712 for 1.6 miles (about a half hour of steady walking). A few spur roads on the left and right will be passed.
- Pay attention for the place where the road makes a major jog to the right and changes from traveling in a southerly direction to traveling west. There is a wide spot along the left shoulder that can accommodate three or four cars. To the left of the road there are big slopes of talus. There is no signage here but this is where the Squilchuck Trail intersects the road (Waypoint S1). Turn left off the road and find the trail.
- The Squilchuck Trail climbs for about 150 vertical feet then mainly undulates through talus fields and larch glades as it traverses back toward the Mission Ridge Ski Area.
- In about a mile (30 minutes of steady walking) the trail comes to a T intersection at Waypoint C2. (Turning right takes you on a short, side trip to Clara and Marion lakes). Go left and start heading downhill to the car.
- In another mile (20 minutes of steady walking), you’ll intersect the Pipeline Road again at Waypoint P2. You’ve been here before. Go straight across the road and follow the trail downhill to the parking lot.
Cons/Hazards: Most of the route is not well signed so pay close attention to our instructions and the map.
Land Designation: Combination of Forest Service and State Wildlife lands.
Leave It Better Than You Found It: This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over spur trails and spurs between switchbacks (make it harder to do the wrong thing than the right thing).
Important Disclaimer: Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Things change, conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes, fail to give complete information, or may not know all the issues affecting a route. If things go wrong, you are completely responsible for yourself and your actions. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.