Another new trail in the Sheep

Actually, it’s a replacement trail. Do you remember Link trail, the section that connected Volcano Ridge trailhead to the  pass between Volcano Ridge and the rocky knoll which is South Volcano Ridge? — a long boringly straight cutline lined with alder, followed by a horrendously steep and stony cutline up onto a ridge?  Well, the new Link  trail is the anthisus of straight; it winds A LOT  up an east-facing ridge to the south of the old route. A few other facts: It  starts 820 m south of the old junction on what was Gorge-Link trail. It’s 2.6 km long, has bridges over every creek starting from Volcano Ridge trailhead,  and joins the old route almost midway between Volcano Ridge Summit trail and the pass.

It was flagged back in 2009 by Don Cockerton (now retired) who saw the desperate need for a better trail. As I write this, the contractors have reached the meadows about 200 m away from its flagged junction with the old Link.  So. though not quite finished,  the trail is definitely followable. Right now it’s a wide track, which I found  a little off-putting, but I know that in time the grass creeping  in over the edges will make it a more aesthetic trail. It would be interesting to get other people’s opinions of the new route on the blog. I think the bikers will love it.

To get there, we parked at Gorge Creek trailhead and biked the closed section of Gorge Creek road to the old Volcano Ridge trailhead. The road  is still in excellent shape and is being driven on a regular basis by the contractors who have keys to the gates. If you don’t want to bike the road (and returning up that hill is NOT something to look forward to after a day’s hiking), you can make a 12.5 km loop from Gorge Creek trailhead with  South Volcano Ridge trail and the new Link trail. If you want to visit Volcano Ridge summit, add on 5 km. OK, so getting to Volcano Ridge still requires a lengthy walk. But it’s so worth it: Volcano is the best viewpoint in the foothills, the flowers are full out, the access trail is still clear.

Volcano Ridge map

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3 comments… add one
  • Bern Sep 2, 2010, 12:47 pm

    Thanks for this!! we have tried to get to Volcano ridge twice this summer, the first time we took a wrong turn, last weekend we simply didn’t have the energy to slog out the mud (new trail) with snow and rain!

    We will attempt again with bikes this time!

  • Gillean Daffern Jul 23, 2010, 12:21 pm

    Came down Volcano Ridge trail yesterday at the end of a long slog and noticed some work had been done on the top part above Link junction and on the lower part in the valley: two new bridges and a start made to fix the mud problem. The middle stony section hasn’t changed.
    Re Gorge Link trail, we noted that new bridges have gone in across the meadow section where you cross a couple of tiny muddy creeks, so it looks like the diversion through the trees in this area has been given up because no-one is following it. What we can’t understand is why there is no bridge across the northwest fork of Gorge Creek upstream of the junction with Gorge Creek trail. This is always a problem spot for hikers.

  • Steve Riggs Jul 23, 2010, 6:36 am

    Always good to see new and improved trails, but I wonder why they had to build it to road width when a much narrower track would suffice. Nonetheless, despite adding length, it would appear to give a welcome break to bikers doing the loop with Gorge Creek, as the Volcano Ridge trail is a heinous steep loose slog on a bike. As is the old Link trail which was tough even to walk in bike shoes.
    An appealing short ride would be up the new trail via Gorge Link, and down the “lightly treed ridge”, requiring a short bit of routefinding around the rocky hump before descending that narrow winding track. Would make for a nice bike and hike combined with Volcano Ridge.

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