“A primitive, non-motorized trail with an awesome descent.”
— Adam Kagy
Eccher Gulch Trail is one of those trails in the valley that doesn't get much action, but when it does it's usually by locals that are in the know of its existence and how to find the trail.
Eccher also doesn't get traveled much due to the trail being in an obscure spot, the climb is tough and the trail has access issues near its end, where it comes out near the highway. There is private land here so skirting around this can be tricky and the exit at the highway is not marked with a sign, but rather just a forest service access gate. Don't let this deter you as the descent on this trail is considered top notch and one of the best hidden gems in the valley.
Start by running up FS 813.2A to FS 813.A2. This grunt of a climb is demoralizing, but you have to earn your downhill. Eventually you'll see a sign for Cement Mountain Trail
, after about a tenth of a mile, look for a singletrack connecting to the trail on your left. This trail will be Roaring Judy Trail 552, but won't be marked at the junction. The sign will be a hundred yards or so down the trail.
Take this left and head down Roaring Judy Trail 552. The trail will start to open up a bit and become loose, rocky and steep. Eccher will be extremely easy to miss at this point since you're going downhill and the trail will be steep here. It's imperative that you slow down and pay attention. Look for a faint primitive singletrack on your right by a small grove of 2-3 aspens on the right before the trail really opens up. If you've descended all the way down into the open sage or to FS 813.2A you've gone too far and missed the junction. In the summer, the trail can become very overgrown and even easier to miss.
If you've found the trail, you'll notice a small sign a hundred yards or so up the trail. Enjoy the trail as it meanders through the aspens. The next tricky spot comes as the trail crosses a gully and starts climbing up along an open hillside in which you'll come to an unmarked junction. STAY RIGHT here. Going left will take you to someone's private access trail. Eventually you'll get to a short, steeper section. When the forest starts turning to all pines, you'll be close to the saddle and at the top of the downhill.
Near the end, look for a faint trail to your left to bypass the private land which joins an old road that goes around the river. Do not go straight and cross the bridge across the river.