The starting point is a three-minute drive from the WRAC yet the route feels very remote once you’re up high. There is no true trail (only game trails) so the travel is more adventurous, has almost no traffic, and demands map reading and route-finding skills (making the trip mentally interesting). The positioning of the ridge between Number One and Number Two canyons is stupendous and affords wonderful views of the Columbia River, Cascades, and Wenatchee Foothills. Challenging walking and route finding. There is no established trail. In places the route involves cross-country travel although most of the route, if traveled correctly, is on game trails. You should be skillful with use of map and compass, and comfortable walking rough terrain.
SNOWSHOERS: This is my favorite snowshoe outing in the Wenatchee Foothills (see above reasons). The multi-mode travel of the route also appeals to me. Most likely you’ll be hiking the initial slopes; somewhere along the One-Two Divide as you work your way high and west, you’ll run into enough snow that the snowshoes will come off the back and onto the feet.
Maps: USGS 7.5-minute series. Monitor Quad. View our topo map. Note: use ‘Print Preview’ before printing to properly scale this map to a full sheet of paper.
Activity: Hiking, Trail Running, Snowshoeing
Nearest Town: Wenatchee
Skill Level: 3
Fitness Level: 2+/3
Distance: 4 to 7 miles depending on how far you walk the divide
Elevation: 1,500 feet to 2,300 feet of elevation gain, depending on how far you walk the divide
Recommended Season: Spring and early summer when the wildflowers are out or fall when foliage is in color. Most years you’re likely to need snowshoes up on the ridge from January to March.
Zero out the odometer at the intersection of Skyline Drive and Number Two Canyon Road (elevation here is 1,005 feet). Drive past the gun club entrance and about a half mile farther, just past a small rock tower near the right side of the road (odometer reading of 1.95 mile), park on the left (south) side of the road in a small pull off with a shot-up ‘No Dumping’ sign. Up the road about 75 yards on the right side is a small drainage/canyon you’ll be ascending.
–Walk uphill along the road about 75 yards and set the altimeter, if you have one, at 1,450 feet. Walk up the road another 100 yards, then walk into the sagebrush on the right side of the road and start climbing the hill before you. Don’t let all the trash at the start of this route discourage you—things get pristine quickly. Climb and traverse slowly back to the right toward the left edge of the little canyon/drainage.
–Hit the edge of the canyon/drainage at 1,640 feet and sidehill along an exposed, steep slope (without losing elevation) into the drainage. There will be various game trails making this traverse. If you traverse properly you can avoid brush but there may be a little bushwhacking to get into the heart of the drainage. Careful of poison oak and snakes. Once in the drainage, work up to about 1680 feet and then get on a well defined game trail ascending a little ridgelet in the middle of the drainage. This ridgelet divides an arroyo on your left and another on your right. Follow this divide directly uphill, traveling in a northwesterly direction and aiming for the saddle along the skyline ridge above you.
— Reach the saddle (2,420 feet) and then turn left and follow game trails along the high divide you’re on. This divide separates Number One and Number Two canyons.
–Follow the undulating divide in a westerly direction until you reach Peak 3,113. The views are nice here and this is a good place to turn around for a shorter walk. If you want to do the complete ridge, carry on from here in a southwesterly direction until you reach Peak 3,761.
Return Trip Options.
- Option 1. Retrace the route. If before making the final descent to the car, you hear gun fire down in the makeshift shooting range at the start of the route, don’t go down the drainage you ascended. Walk another few hundreds east along the One-Two Divide and descend the ridge system that hits the road a few 100 yards downhill of where the car is parked. This ridge is steeper and takes more care to descend, but it beats messing around with hill billies with guns.
- Option 2. From Peak 3,761, walk cross-country in a southerly direction until you intersect the Stairway to Heaven Trail. Follow the trail to the roads and then follow roads back to the paved Canyon Number Two Road. Walk the road about two miles back to the car. I prefer this descent option because there will be no surprises with target shooters this way. I also use a bike shutttle to eliminate having to walk the paved road. To do the shuttle, drop off your pack and passengers at the start of the route, drive the car to the end of pavement up Canyon Number Two Road, leave the car here, ride a bike back to the start of the hike and hide it in the bushes, pick up the bike as you drive down the canyon after the hike.
Cons/Hazards. Noise from the gun range if it happens to be an hour when people are shooting. Rattlesnakes: Walk with ski poles and, in bushy places, use the poles to beat the brush in front of you. Leave the snakes alone if you encounter any. The route follows no established trail—it follows game trails or, sometimes, no trail at all.
Additional Information. Carry plenty of water if the forecast is for warm weather—you’ll be exposed to plenty of sun. Recommended gear—the normal essentials plus supportive boots, trekking/ski poles, altimeter, map and compass. An altimeter, while by no means essential, is handy for the route-finding.
1) People holding little respect for the land or for other people have dumped along the side of the road and in the brush at the start of this hike. Set the example you’d want others to follow–when you return from your hike, pick up a bag’s worth of trash. Make yourself visible along the shoulder of the road so passing cars get the message.
2) People also use the base of this canyon as a poor man’s shooting range. I’ve hiked here on several occasions and never encountered people, but the area is obviously used at times for shooting. Stay clear of this walk if people are shooting when you arrive—there are several other hikes to take along Number 2 Canyon.
Uses Allowed: Too steep and undeveloped for anything but walking, snowshoeing, and /or skiing (snow conditions for skiing are usually dicier).
Land Designation: Forest Service at the start, then BLM, then Forest Service again
Related Articles: Running Man–The Yin and Yang of Trail Running, MSR Lightning Snowshoes
Trip Reporter: Andy Dappen, June 2005/March 2006
Leave It Better Than You Found It. This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull some noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, don’t ride or walk wet trails when you’re leaving ruts/footprints deeper than ¼ inch…
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or may not know all the issues affecting a route. You are still completely responsible for your decisions, your actions, and your safety. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.