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Three Trips WTA's Lost Trails Found Work Made Possible

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Feb 25, 2022 09:32 AM |

Over the years, we have loved seeing hikers return to some of the notoriously rough and difficult-to-navigate trails that we've prioritized in our Lost Trails Found work. We take a look at three trips that benefited from trail maintenance and advocacy efforts.

Through our Lost Trails Found campaign, WTA has made it a priority to save backcountry trails that are at-risk of falling off the map due to land managers' budget constraints and a lack of maintenance. By focusing on strong partnerships, consistent advocacy — and, of course, boots-on-the-ground trail work — we've been able to watch entire trail systems spring back to life over the years.

Recently, we've seen hikers return to some of the notoriously rough and difficult-to-navigate trails that we've been working on, and we've been overjoyed to read about their memorable backcountry adventures. Here are three such trips that our Lost Trails Found work made possible.

North fork Sullivan Creek

Tucked into the Colville National Forest, North Fork Sullivan Creek is a necessary access points for hikers looking to reach big Selkirk views along Crowell Ridge (it also happens to coincide with the Pacific Northwest Trail). In 2017, our volunteers, along with partners from the forest service and Pacific Northwest Trail Association, removed a failing bridge that had limited access to the trail and created a sustainable reroute suitable for both hikers and stock. Since then, we've been going back annually to remove fallen logs, cut back overgrowth and improve drainage.

A trail sign seen along North Fork Sullivan Creek
When we work on lost trails, we're always looking at the bigger picture of the trail system. One trail can lead numerous loops, traverses and adventures throughout a single system. The North Fork Sullivan is a key part of the trail system north of Sullivan Lake. Photo by trip reporter Kylems.

The Colville, and especially the trails around Sullivan Creek, provide an incredible escape for hikers who are looking for long stretches of solitude in the wilderness. Trip report Kylems ventured out along North Fork Sullivan Creek for a family overnight with their sister and nephew. Not only did the trio enjoy smooth sailing thanks to WTA's recent trail work, they also enjoyed quiet trails on a busy long weekend.

"This was a beautiful (if you prefer hiking in the trees) and relatively easy one night trip. Trail conditions were excellent due to the recent work that has been completed. We didn't see any other hikers on Friday or Saturday of Labor Day weekend which I thought was a bit surprising. All in all a great trip and we are already talking about our next one!"

Entiat River

After the Wolverine fire in 2015, the once-popular Entiat River Valley fell off the radar. The ground was charred, the tread was uneven and the path was clogged with fallen timber. For many hikers, it wasn't worth the hassle and trip reports all but ceased across many of the trails. 

This past summer, our Lost Trails Found crew spent nearly an entire season working throughout the valley and logged out hundreds of logs from the trail corridor, among other improvements. Trip reporter Kevin Peterson followed their trail of sawdust this past October and mapped out an incredible 4-day itinerary that hit some of the biggest views the area has to offer.

Larches showing off their yellow needles in the Entiat Valley.
Early fall is a spectacular time to visit the Entiat Valley and enjoy Larch Lakes' namesake tree. Photo by Kevin Peterson.

"Excellent work by WTA folks to clear this trail of almost every blowdown. While steep, the larches and views afforded by the Garland Peak Trail are excellent, in particular once you round the corner to look over the entire bowl surrounding Larch Lakes. After stopping at Upper Larch Lake for lunch (at a great campsite on the western edge of the lake) we descended back down to the Entiat River Trail via the recently cleared (yay WTA!) Larch Lakes Trail (#1430), continued up the Entiat River Trail, and then camped at an excellent site just shy of the river ford of the Ice Lakes Trail."

Angry Mountain

Views across the valley from Angry Mountain.
Angry Mountain provides unique views into the Goat Rocks and the surrounding valleys — and we hope that hikers will continue being able to enjoy them for generations to come. Photo by jasonhillpdx.

Angry Mountain is a hidden gem on the western flanks of the Goat Rocks Wilderness. A few years ago the trail was quite literally hidden — under hundreds of fallen trees. WTA volunteers, along with the help of Back Country Horsemen of Washington and the Forest Service, spent years logging it out and refurbishing the tread. By the end of 2019, the Angry Mountain trail was free of fallen logs, and several loop and traverse opportunities branching off of it had been resurrected.

Trip reporter jasonhillpdx ventured out to Angry Mountain the following summer and planned an overnight trip along the recently cleared route, setting up camp in the scenic Heart Lake Basin.

"This trail has been fantastically maintained. The result is a lovely, if not challenging, path into the Goat Rocks Wilderness. I planned a single night trip to Heart Lake and figured the Angry Mountain Trail #90 would be a great way to avoid the crowds. The trailhead is easy to get to and parking along the road is plentiful."


Save a trail

Our work on lost trails is powered by our members, advocates and volunteers. You can support us in this work by making a donation, asking your legislative officials to support trail funding or joining us in the backcountry for a bit of volunteer trail maintenance.

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chrisburke on Feb 28, 2022 09:47 AM