It ain’t no secret that there’s a new trail in Golden. The Schacher Trail (pronounced 'Shocker') has been more than four years and half a million dollars in the making and it’s finally complete.
Mt 7 has been a destination for extreme adventure seekers for decades in Golden. Pilots launch their hang gliders and paragliders from four different launch sites on the mountainside and downhill mountain bikers also launch themselves down the mountain on a network of trails made famous by the Psychosis DH race.
It has not offered much for those of weak courage or strong hearts until now.
The Schacher is a 14 km, “blue square” trail that climbs 1600m to the main launch site on Mt 7. If you want to start from town proper, the distance extends to nearly 20 km with close to 2000 m of ascent. Clearly, you can also run down this trail for the opposite statistics, if you’re weak of courage and or heart, just feel like smashing your quads, or can’t find a drive down.
The Schacher is a beaut.
The lower trails from down and up to the 6 km point on the road traverse open pine forest, undergrowth-rich old harvest blocks, and symmetrical tree growth study plots in a series of switchbacks, flowy straights and clever bridges.
Once you hit the upper section of the trail (after crossing the Bowle Evans Road just below the 6 km point) you have 10 km to climb to the end. This is a great alternative starting point if you’ve got a car to get you there. Please be careful where you park so you don’t block traffic on the well-used road.
The upper section of the Schacher was opened for the first time in late June 2018. The lush lower section features endless switchbacks (awesome when you’re climbing, road-rage inspiring when you’re bonking on your way down to town), a beautiful bridge and really beautiful old forest.
As the climb takes away the power in your legs and the spice in your heart the foliage opens up to some beautiful views of the Columbia Valley. When you start to hit viewpoints you’re only about 2 km from the end of the trail so you can start stoking the hope in your heart.
Watch out during this last section for some really neat trail building features, including a rock retaining wall and some log jumps for cyclists to enjoy in the descending direction.
The end of the trail is at the main hang & para gliding launch on Mt 7 – spectacular views, entertaining pilot antics, and a beautiful new timber-frame shelter in which to enjoy your snacks if the weather is not so pleasant.
Whilst there are many trails on Mt7, I’d recommend running right back down the Schacher if you’ve not convinced somebody to pick you up at the top. The grades are best for running and, so far, there is not much bike traffic going down the trail. Many of the other trails are designed for high-speed cycling so you’ve got to keep an eye over your shoulder for a fast-approaching biker.
This trail is new, new, new so stay tuned for how it evolves and perhaps extends over the next few years. There is currently an un-mapped hiking trail that continues from the top of the Schacher to the summit of Mt 7 if you’re looking for a longer jaunt with more vertical and a few more views.
Have at ‘er! (She’s on Strava already).