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Striped Peak: New Trail on Olympic Peninsula is Ready for Hikers

Posted by Anna Roth at Mar 14, 2022 04:06 PM |

After three and a half years and 83 volunteer work parties, there's a new trail on a popular peak outside of Port Angeles.

After three and a half years, hikers, bikers and equestrians have a new trail on Striped Peak, a summit overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca outside of Port Angeles. Peninsula resident and volunteer WTA crew leader Rebecca Wanagel has been working on this trail since 2019, dedicating 83 days to creating the 3.5-mile route. The addition of this trail makes it now possible to hike, bike or ride a 7.5-mile loop.

View from Striped Peak on a clear day.
The view from the summit on the last weekend of WTA's work at Striped Peak. Photo by Eric Nagle.

Loop trails help contribute to a more robust trail network and more positive hiking experience. Justin Zarzeczny, recreation manager for the Department of Natural Resources expresses the agency's satisfaction with the project. 

"This is a rare recreational opportunity in the region and will be enjoyed by many. The sustained efforts by WTA volunteers bumped up the completion of this project by at least 5 years and the quality of the finished product exceeded expectations."

The trail was built for use by hikers, bikers and horse riders. It can be tricky to build a quality trail for those three different types of user, but Becca thinks the crews threaded that needle, despite the second-growth forest and bedrock they had to work around. Trip reports and comments from recent users certainly seem positive!

Putting in the work

So what does it take to build three miles of trail? On Striped Peak, it took 83 total work parties over 3.5 years. That's more than 10,700 hours of volunteer time spent here. The speed at which we finished is even more remarkable considering WTA had to observe a work stoppage and limit crew capacity when Covid hit in 2020!

All told, 270 people came together to build this trail, aside from a half-mile through a former clearcut that crews with Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) built.

A youth crew at Striped Peak poses for a group shot during the workday. Photo by Becca Wanagel
Several youth work parties, including this one in 2019, helped complete the Striped Peak project. Photo courtesy Becca Wanagel.

Building trail provides a great opportunity for learning new skills, and building brand-new trails means volunteers get to practice a little bit of everything: brushing, drainage, and treadwork, as well as some more advanced skills. Rigging was necessary in many places because so many stumps and rocks needed to be removed. Two volunteers earned their chainsaw certifications for this project. (WTA-certified volunteers on Olympic Peninsula crews are allowed to use power tools if the project calls for it). And of course, working in a team you develop your communication and leadership skills. Becca saw numerous volunteers invest in growing their skillset on Striped Peak work parties.

"I watched new people go from their first WTA day to spreading their ACL (assistant crew leader) wings, and generally put in thousands of hours of very hard work together to make this vision happen," she said. "This project was teamwork in its purest form."

Rigging projects include things like stump removal or as seen here, rock moving. Photo by Eric Nagle.
Rigging work is useful for moving large, heavy boulders like this one, and many volunteers learn that skill on the job. Photo by Eric Nagle.

People Power

The high quality of the trail on Striped Peak is thanks to that teamwork. But a handful of volunteers really stepped up to support Becca on this project over the course of the project.

"Martin, Toothpick (Paul), Bill and LaVonne, Terry, Vern, Chris Reef and Carol Blunck were my bedrock throughout the project. This project could not have been done to the level and quality it is without them. To say I'm grateful and appreciative simply shows that there isn't quite the right English word to capture this feeling."

Becca delimbing a tree on Striped Peak. Photo by Martin Knowles
Volunteer crew leader Becca Wanagel uses a chainsaw to clear a tree. Photo by Martin Knowles.

"We nailed it"

Every volunteer who came out, whether it was for a day or for 85, made a difference on this trail and should be proud of their efforts. This gift to the community, as Becca describes it, was completed above standard and ahead of schedule. And along the way, volunteers gained new skills and a popular area just outside of Port Angeles will offer a new trail to enjoy for many years to come.

"The folks who dedicated their time, talent, money, energy, etc into this project are nothing short of amazing human beings," Becca said. "We are all better trail workers for having built this trail through difficult terrain. It was a technically difficult-to-build trail. But go have a hike, bike or ride. We think we nailed it."

If you can't get out there just yet, take a look at these photos. We think they nailed it, too.

volunteers beginning to brush before building trail at Striped Peak. Photo by Martin Knowles
Volunteers begin clearing the forest floor for switchback construction. Photo by Martin Knowles.

Becca stands in the middle of the planned route for the trail. She smiles at the camera while volunteers work in the background.
Partway through the day, Becca stands and smiles in the emerging switchback. Photo by Martin Knowles.

Volunteers standing at completed switchback at the end of the day. Photo by Martin Knowles.
The completed switchback in 2019 with volunteers standing and smiling at their hard work. Photos by Martin Knowles.

Before and after work on Striped Peak. Photo by Becca Wanagel.  
Before and after: a volunteer shows off her treadwork — note the root removal. Photo courtesy Becca Wanagel

Volunteer ACL Joni Johnson and two volunteers smile just before removing a large stump from the Striped Peak Trail.
ACL Joni Johnson and two volunteer green hats smile while working on stump removal at Striped Peak in 2019. The heavily-forested terrain here made trail building slow going at times, but was great practice for technical skills like rigging. Photo courtesy Becca Wanagel.

Volunteers clearing a log from planned trail route on Striped Peak. Photo by Martin Knowles.
Volunteers laugh while removing a large, dead tree from the downhill side of the trail. Removing material like this is important so moisture and debris don't get trapped on trail and degrade the path. Photo by Martin Knowles.

combo2 digging out rock_becca wanagel.jpg 
Happy volunteers mining dirt for the tread. Photo courtesy Becca Wanagel.

Volunteer standing at rigging watching move a large rock. Photo by Eric Nagle.
A volunteer oversees moving a large rock on the last weekend of work at Striped Peak. Photo by Eric Nagle.

Bill and Lavonne Mueller work on a section of tread at Striped Peak.
Bill and Lavonne Mueller are fixtures on Olympic Peninsula work parties. Here, they are finishing up filling a hole in the trail before covering it with material to complete the path. Photo by Eric Nagle.

 combo3 graveled trail_becca wanagel.jpg
Happy horse riders on a section of the finished trail. And a volunteer stands on a section of graveled trail on the Striped Peak Loop. Photo courtesy Becca Wannagel.

Note from hikers on striped peak

Hikers are already loving the new trail. If you've been and want to give the crews a shoutout — write a trip report!

Learn more

Read about how WTA decides where to work


not2ez on Striped Peak: New Trail on Olympic Peninsula is Ready for Hikers

I am adding this trail to my Olympic Peninsula bucket list for this summer. We should be grateful to the men and women who built this trail, and our state legislators who provided the funds for the materials. This is a good article to save and email to our legislators. I will be doing that to reinforce the need for continuous funding of the WA Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR), WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, WA Dept. of Parks and Recreation, and the US Forest Service and US DNR.

Go WTA! You are bringing about so many new healthy recreation opportunities.

Posted by:

not2ez on Mar 17, 2022 11:38 AM

Rambling Gma on Striped Peak: New Trail on Olympic Peninsula is Ready for Hikers

Many thanks to all the hard working trail volunteers! Is this trail tied into the existing one at Salt Creek Recreation Area, or is there a new trailhead? Can’t wait to hike it!

Posted by:

Rambling Gma on Mar 17, 2022 03:51 PM

Muledeer on Striped Peak: New Trail on Olympic Peninsula is Ready for Hikers

That is some seriously badass trailwork! Thank you!

Posted by:

Muledeer on Apr 07, 2022 05:30 PM