Hard to beat Devil’s Gulch area for trail running

Written on Jun 2nd, 2014 by , Category Trail Running, Training

Trail runner and blogger Amber King moves up the trail in the Wenatchee National Forest south of Cashmere.


By Amber King

If you have been looking for a challenging trail run that offers 3,000 feet of elevation gain, well-groomed, single-track non-technical dirt trails, and astounding views of the Cascade Mountains, then this jaunt is for you!

It’s one of the best trails that I’ve done in the area yet!

Getting on this trail, I felt alive, excited and ready to explore something new. I had no idea what I was about to encounter. Starting at the Devil’s Gulch Trailhead, I trotted along the Devil’s Gulch Trail until I met up with the Red Devil to my right.

The trailhead at Devil's Gulch.

Busting off, I encountered a wonderfully groomed uphill climb that lasted for what felt like more then just a couple of miles.

Once I gained the first hills, it offered intoxicating views of lush green hillsides, speckled with giant sandstone pinnacles and impressive ridge lines.

Running through lush forests.

Following the trail for a few more miles, I continued to run through a lush green forest, with pine-laden, single-track trail and one that offered sightings of purple, yellow and red flower assortments.

As I reached the junction for the Red Hill Trail, I made a left and began another large climb. Through this section of trail, I ascended 2,000 feet. This part was my absolute favorite!

First sight of the Enchantments!

After climbing uphill about 600 feet through the Ponderosa pine forests, the awe-inspiring Enchantment Mountain Range came into view.

Reaching a saddle after on of the big climbs, I was provided with the gift of an even larger expanse. I spent most of my run taking pictures! I was enthralled with the sights and the affinity for adventure that this terrain offered.

After gaining the large climb, I began a steep descent.

Views of the Mission Creek granite walls took my mind away from the distance that I had traveled, and brought me into a whole new mindset. I kept wondering if these walls had ever been climbed. I wondered how long it would take to access these walls and if anybody has ever done it before. Ultimately, it inspired me! I will definitely be exploring that area in the future. I love how trail running can inspire new adventures for the future!

After following this down for a few miles, I was back where I began. Welcomed by a babbling brook, I had the opportunity to soak my legs in the cold water to help them bounce the next day. Ah … total refreshment!

Again. From my standpoint, this is the best run in the Wenatchee and Cashmere area! Give it a shot!

This also is the location of the Red Devil Challenge Trail Runs (25K, 10K and 1.7K), held every June by RunWenatchee. This is the same route described above, except Red Devil begins at the Sandcreek Trailhead. The event is an awesome opportunity to get out, explore and have fun with great people.

Check out runwenatchee.com for that race and others.

Route Beta

Location: Devil’s Gulch Trailhead, Wenatchee National Forest, Cashmere, WA
Distance: 13.0 miles
Elevation gain: 3,000 feet
Difficulty: Intermediate
Trail map reference: Follow the yellow route. Begin at the Devil’s Gulch Trail Head – Red Devil – Red Hill Trail #1223 – Red Hill Spur #1223-1 – Devils Gulch
Parking permits required: Northwest Forest Pass. You can avoid this by parking before the signs that stipulate a “fee zone” is beginning.
Pros: Beautiful views, well-groomed and maintained trails
Cons: Lots of contact with mountain bike and dirt bikes — watch out!

Directions From Wenatchee

1. Take Highway 2 towards Cashmere.
2. Take a left on Aplets Way at Cashmere.
3. Continue south on Division Street through downtown Cashmere.
4. Division Street turns into Pioneer Avenue. Take a left onto Mission Creek Road (also look for signs for the Devil’s Gulch Trailhead).
5. After about nine miles on Mission Creek Road, you will hit a T-intersection. There will be ‘junk yards’ on each corner. Take a left to go to the Devil’s Gulch Trailhead. If you want to go to Sandcreek Trailhead instead, turn right.
6. Drive two miles until you reach the Devil’s Gulch Trailhead.
7. You can park in the lot or before it to avoid parking fees.

Enjoy the views, trail and beauty of the area! Get out, get off your computer and take this opportunity to explore a place that is inspiring, beautiful and fresh.

Trailin’ off,

Amber King is an avid trail runner who recently moved to Chelan County from Colorado. When she isn’t off exploring, she works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Entiat.



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