“A fun trail with a bit of scrambling at the top. Great views make it worth it.”
— David Mills
This is a very popular running route, especially on the weekend.
From the Barrier Dam trailhead, run 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 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 run 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. 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 steep 2km descent with a lot of roots, a few large steps and lots of loose rock. 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.