This is a very popular hiking route, especially on the weekend, so be polite and call ahead when charging the descents. Slow down when you pass people and say hello. Warn them if there are riders coming along behind you.
From the Barrier Dam trailhead, ride the gravel road along the top of the dam with Barrier Lake on your left. The road meanders away from the lake and tilts uphill after a km or so. That short climb ends at the junction with Stoney Trail
and the powerline. Keep going forward into the trees as the trail narrows a bit, and turns uphill on a looser gravel path with some ruts to navigate. You'll encounter a cutline trail at the top of another climb - cross it and continue.
Prairie View climbs up 11 switchbacks on a wide, packed gravel and dirt surface. It's literally wide enough to drive a truck on. Some of the switchbacks are steep and/or loose, but there's nothing overly challenging here beyond the fight against gravity. The last switchback is a left-hander, and if you look to your right as you ride by you'll see the entrance to the Camp Chief Hector DH
. Keep cruising up the hill and you'll eventually pop out at a lookout where you can see a very big chunk of the valley and get an idea of how far you've climbed.
But wait, there's more! Another climb awaits around the bend. The infamous scramble is at the top of a steep climb. The trail forks below the scramble, and either direction will get you to the same place. Shoulder your bike and do your best impression of a mountain goat up the rocks. You'll pop out at the base of a microwave relay station [maybe?], which marks the true high point of the trail. Killer views! Don't fall off!
The descent begins with scree and abruptly makes a right turn into the forest. It's all downhill from here - a screaming 2km descent with a lot of roots, a few drops and lots of loose rock. It's easy to go too fast and wind up in the rhubarb, but it's super fun! Depending on your arm strength and suspension travel, the last 400m or so may leave you with clenched and sore hands. You'll pass the entrance to Razor's Edge
around here, so watch for it on the right if that's what you're looking for.
The junction with Jewell Pass
Trail and Quaite Valley Trail
is a little open area with trail signs. Jewell is to the left, and takes you back toward Barrier. Quaite is on the right and leads to Hwy 1.