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08 July 2020

Trans-Cascadia Work Party: Revamping Washington's Pot Peak Trail with STEPS

Washington State's Cascade Mountain Range is home to some of the most diverse terrain and unique riding conditions in the United States. The rainy western side of the range is home to Bellingham and Seattle's iconic loamy trails while the eastern side is dryer with more remote trail systems.

Shimano STEPS Pot Peak

 

The Pot Peak Trail, located in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest on the eastern side of the Cascade Range, is very different from traditional Washington riding. The trails in this region average between 4,000 and 5,000 feet in elevation change and deliver some of Washington’s longest descents. Pot Peak Trail drops riders nearly 4,700 feet in just 9.3 miles along scenic singletrack terrain. 

 

Trail work Pots Peak

 

It was here at the Pot Peak Trail on the Cascade Mountain Range's lesser-traveled side that Trans-Cascadia hosted its first Work Party for the year. Volunteers gathered for several days to help revamp this iconic trail by brushing and removing fallen trees. It’s a process that sounds relatively easy and straightforward, but with a 2-day timeline and a 15-person crew, it takes a lot of work. But the hard work would be rewarded with tasty meals cooked by Chef Xavier out of Portland who supports every Work Party and a first look at the renovated trail at the end of the weekend. 

 

Trail building tools

 

The party started with volunteers loading up with tools and then splitting into three groups that would work on different sections of the trail. The lower crew would focus on the bottom part of the trail but would still need to climb nearly 2,000 feet up from camp to access their section. The middle crew needed to climb 3,000 feet up while the upper crew had the daunting task of climbing over 4,000 feet to the top of the trail, all while carrying over 20 pounds of tools and supplies the their 

 

Trail work on Pot Peak MTB trail

                  

Trail work tools Chain saws

 

One of the biggest struggles when approaching a trail project like this is getting the volunteers and workers to the desired section of trails while keeping them fresh and ready for a hard day’s work. Thankfully, e-bikes help solve this problem by assisting each group to navigate the steep, sandy, and overgrown trail, leaving them with more energy and more time to work.

 

Shimano STEPS System

 

On the Pot Peak Trail, the terrain was rugged and the work was tough. Each trail crew selected a few workers to operate the hedger and chainsaw while the rest of the volunteers cleared leftover brush from the trail – this group is also known as the “swampers.” On average, a trail crew can cover about a quarter-mile of the trail in an hour. Each of the three crews cleared around 1.5 miles of trail per day for a group total of five miles per day.

 

Trail work Shimano STEPS

 

After two long days of work, the volunteers were rewarded with a day of riding to test out their hard work. Ripping down the freshly cleared singletrack trail was the perfect way to end the weekend. Riding a trail after pouring multiple days of sweat and hard work into it is one of the most rewarding feelings we get as mountain bikers.

 

Riding Shimano STEPS eMTB

 

Check out the newly revamped Pot Peak Trail along with driving direction and other important information with the link below. While the Pot Peak Trail can be ridden as an out-and-back, it's best done as part of a loop. Expect to climb between 7,000 and 8,000 feet depending on the route when riding this as a loop. 

 

https://www.trailforks.com/trails/pot-peak-trail/