You start with a ~8 mile fire road climb, then single track, the first section v. steep. Take left at top, then follow ridge line-trail 1448, passing spur trails. You take a left again onto trail 1226, and the fun begins. Technical ridge running, extreme exposure, and a little hike-a-bike (including .75mi or so up a talus slope). Not long after the last gunt (about 13 miles into the ride) uphill following the hike-a-bike you take a left, and start a 10 mile descent that is unrivaled in my mtb experience--far and away the best in Washington (yes, better than Devil's Gulch, Suntop, Twenty-five mile creek, Taneum Creek, and Crystal Mtn.) Enjoy. I've rated the trail Advanced, only because there are several short sections that require advanced/expert technical skills, and a lot of attention to where you are on the trail.
Drive up the west side of Lake Chelan, past 25 mile state park. Head up Shady Pass Road, aka Forest Service Road #5900. Recommend a two car shuttle, leaving the drop car at the Ramona Campground. Then drive up to Grouse Mt. Campground.
Summary: Trail was brushed out this August (2012). Great Trail, great ride,not easy!
Review Date July 31, 2012
Overall Rating 2 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 5 of 5
Technical Difficulty 3 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: Steve
Summary: To say this ride compares to devil's gulch is a sick joke that you should only play on your worst enemies. The only option you should consider is dropping a car at the pot peak trailhead and shuttling up to the top. I rode in 90 degree temps up the fire road and you can't bring enough food or water to sustain your energy. The devils backbone section is plagued with bad trail design that causes pointless hiking sections,is poorly maintened, and is covered in places by rockslide debris. There is some fun technical stuff here but again bad trail design keeps you from getting any speed or flow with constant switchbacks that have you asking yourself how badly you want to give yourself a compound fracture on the jagged rocks. Once you finally get to the pot peak trail it is spoiled by extreme overgrowth that forces you to dismount constantly. Overall the trail is not as fast, has more sand and is overall much less satisfying/fun compared to others, particularly devil's gulch since so many seem to compare the two.
If you think I'm just weak then feel free to prove me wrong and ride up the fire road, just don't expect to enjoy the experience. Even with a shuttle I don't think it would be that great because the trail just isn't in good shape.
Recommended Route: Drop a car at pot peak trail head. Take another car up FS 5900 (shady pass) until you get to a sign that says devils backbone. Drive to devils backbone trailhead and start riding. Stay on devils backbone until you see a sign for pot peak.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Devil's gulch, Cashmere. About 4-5 hours with 3000 ft fire road climb and awesome downhill that seems to go on forever and is actually worth the climb up, which is easily doable if you are in decent shape. Can also choose shuttle option for downhill riders.
Freund Canyon, Leavenworth. About 2000 ft elevation change. Fast up, and fast down. Fun downhill.
Anything else around Leavenworth as long as your into freeride/downhill stuff. Ask at the local bike shop.
Summary: I attempted this trail twice. The first time I did not allow enough time to ride from Pot Peak trailhead to the start of the single track which is 14.5 miles up a steep grade dirt road. I got to the beggining of Devil's Backbone (start, which is near Handy Springs Campground) around 5:30 pm and decided I didn't have enough time or food. I came back three days later with a shuttle and rode Devil's Backbone to Pot Peak trail. The trail has rolling hills at the beggining, followed by technical loose rocky switchbacks, as described there is a 3/4 to 1 mile hike-a-bike section (approx 5-6 miles from beggining of Devils Backbone) over a loose rocky section. After this, Pot Peak trail (1266 as opposed to the original description) veirs off to the left. The downhill single track is quite nice, and flows well. This trail has seen a severe forest fire in 2004 and much of the lower trail is covered by low lying brush (expect an ankle whipping), also expect smaller trees to be down over the trail. I came around several blind corners to find the trail blocked by a tree. The lower switch backs were quite loose even after a heavy rain 2 days prior. The dirt composition is unexpectadly loose considering the majority of soil composition is ash, easy to have the trail sluff off underneath your front tire. I have 28" high rise handlebars and found the brush to be a big annoyance, and added difficulty. Overall still worth it, amazing views, nice single track.
Recommended Route: Drive South Shore Drive to 25 mile creek campgrnd. Take a left just after campgrnd and Drive 3-4 miles up Forest Service Road 5900, take left towards Pot Peak trailhead. Park at Pot Peak trailhead, ride back to 5900 and take a left (follow signs for Grouse Mountain Camp grnd). Continue on the road (5900) past Grouse Mtn Camp grnd, Past Junior Springs Campgrnd and follow signs for Handy Springs Campgrnd. Devils Backbone beggains approx 1 mile past Handy Springs Camp Grnd. Enjoy
Other recommended trails in the same area: Devils Gulch More rideable, and in better shape
Freud Canyon Loop, Leavenworth
Summary: Pot Peak is located in the Chelan Mountains on the west side of the Lake Chelan drainage. It has been described as the best downhill in the state. Starting at about 6,800 feet of elevation, the trail descends for 10 miles to Ramona Park. It is single track all the way and includes rocky sections at the top along the ridgeline to sweet, buff singletrack in the lower sections. Three years ago (2003), the Pot Peak Fire devastated the area, but the trail is in good shape. Just keep your eyes open for windblown trees across the trail.
Recommended Route: You can ride up from the bottom, but the best way to do this trail is get a ride to Handy Springs and the Devil's Backbone Trailhead which will take you across the spine ridge between the Entiat and Chelan Ranger Districts. The Devil's Backbone is a technical, very rocky single track that traverses this ridge between the two districts for about seven miles before reaching the Pot Peak junction. Give yourself a day and enjoy the views. They are spectacular.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Stormy Mountain to Pot Peak.
Tommy Creek Trail in the Entiat River Drainage
Echo Ridge for something really close to Chelan.
The Methow Valley.
Review Date December 2, 2000
Overall Rating 3 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: Jeff
, from Seattle
Summary: After to 20+ mi (3000') road grind from parking area the trail starts off quite nicely w/ little ups and downs until you come out to the exposed ridge leading to the decent before the talus slope hike a bike. When a friend and I rode this 9/24/00 we had temps in the 30's w/ grappel pelting us from 30+ mph winds during the hike-a-bike. After another quick up the descent starts and for the most part is pretty good although I don't agree with other reports that it is the best in WA. Trail was extremely overgrown in sections, but for the most part was fun w/ good speed potential and just enough technical sections that you couldn't completely zone out.
Other recommended trails in the same area: All in all not a worthwhile side trip going to or from other rides in the area, but wouldn't make it a yearly stop mostly because it alot of drving /work for little reward. As far as the car shuttle thing, I suppose it's justifiable if you 've got a bunch of weak riders or you're out for a beer drinking /partying trip. I think most avid riders would have to agree that to ride the whole thing, the 25+ miles it takes you to get to this downhill really isn't worht the effort except to say that you did it. Our riding time for 35+ mi was 5.5hrs.