If you are looking for a moderately long amble without much likelihood of seeing others, look no further. The terrain is dry Ponderosa forest cut deeply by winter runoff. The scars of humankind’s usage are quite evident, but the balance of nature’s hand is slowly returning beauty to the area. The elevations are low making access easy early in the season or the potential for a winter outing.
Routefinding to Red Hill isn’t particularly difficult, though paying attention is required. Upon leaving the trailhead a bridge is crossed. Of note, this is the last water you will see on this trail, so fill up. Stay left just past this bridge and immediately cross an old road.
Once on the signed trail on the other side the navigation is easy. Another junction or two further along require attention, by following the main flow of tire tracks you will be just fine. This trail is a shared use trail with mountain bikes and motorcycles. With the exception of the final ascent to Red Hill the wheeled impact on trail conditions is minimal.
The Red Hill trail initially contours the hillside above Sand Creek. It then switchbacks comfortably up the hillside to the ridge line. A mile of trail passes through private land which is exposed and hot on a sunny day. Please respect the private property here and stay on trail.
Returning to Forest Service land brings shade and coolness as the trail ascends to another ridge. At 3500 feet, a junction with the Red Hill Spur is reached. A left turn will take you down to Mission Creek and a loop of 14.5 miles total back to your car on the Red Devil trail. Turning right the Red Hill trail continues. Wheeled traffic lessens after this juncture as the terrain becomes a bit steeper.
A quick gain of 300 feet in about 0.3 of a mile gains the ridge and the first real views of the hike. An open hilltop presents itself at ~3600 feet with views to the southeast. This is a great place to call it if you’re feeling tired.
The summit of Red Hill itself is another mile along ridge with 700 feet of gain and loss along the way. Red Hill has no formal top per se. True enough it has a ‘summit’ but it is barely discernable from its surroundings. Wildflowers carpet the area in season and wolf-lichen clad trees make for picturesque scenes. Views of the snowy peaks north of Leavenworth poke out here and there between the trees.
WTA Pro Tip: Cashmere is a town frozen in time. The downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places, and its 1950s-60s décor is unique; an intact example of another era. Canned music plays on the shaded sidewalks during the holidays. Visiting the local candy manufacturer, Liberty Orchards, is also a blast to sample some authentic Americana in Aplets and Cotlets.