Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 9256 | TRs
|Location : Wenatchee, Wa., Rt. 2>Wenatchee Ave.>Miller St.>5th st. W to #1 Canyon Rd.>Sage Hills Dr. (park at intersection)
Access: Walk from your car up Sage Hills Dr. to the TH
Trail Conditions : Excellent, open to hikers, horses, mountain bikes
Stats : 7.5 miles, 2500', 4 hr.
I picked up a brochure / trail guide at Mountain Air gear shop the other day and had heard alot locally about the Sage Hills trail which runs along the base of the Wenatchee Foothills in a near N-S linear fashion between #1 Canyon Rd. and Maiden Lane, so thought I would check it out a sort of "pickup hike" to fill the afternoon.
The land is partially private and mostly owned by The Chelan-Douglas Co. Land Trust who recently bought another 1500 acres to preserve the beautiful area from any further "human developement".
I was on the trail at 1300 hr. under mostly cloudy skies, the temp was pleasant in the mid 60s with a light wind. The trail was soft dirt which undulated along, over, and below the foothill ridgelines which are ultimately the base of Horse Lake Mountain gainig elevation slowly and curling into several flower choked gulches along the way eventually running in to some tall grass. The surrounding foothills / mountains were a mixture of carpet green, orange, and red with some areas drying faster than others. Near the end of the mainly N-S route there is a old road grade (very steeep) being reclaimed and a switchbacking trail nearly paralelling it, here is where I decided to loop up to a higher ridge on Horse Lake Mountain and back S and down a steep ridge back near the TH. As I gained elevation the terrain was more open woods with ponderosa pine, some huge and the wildflowers just exploded in numbers on the way, Balsam Root, Larkspur, Daisy, Phlox, Gentian, Buttercup etc..., they had been present along with others the whole way, but WoW, what a difference a little elevation and terrain contours made.
I topped the ridgeline at around 2800-3000' and followed it back on a plateau of woods, meadows, and open grassy ridge. It had started raining (The Arc. Theta SL kept cool and dry), and of all things thundering which lasted maybe 45 min. when I finally came to the ridge down and man that thing drops several thousand feet in 1-2 miles (ouch). Part way down the ridge the low clouds passed several rainbows appeared and it was a hot sun again.
A wonderful little loop that I made using parts of several different trails and some off trail hiking (sure beats the in and out or car to car route). So I hereby decree that it is the Sage Hills Loop.