An up-close view of the slide that took out a small section of the Sitka Cross Trail this weekend. According to Sitka Trail Works Executive Director Ben Hughey, the slide took out around 34 feet of trail tread at its widest point, and drops about 20 feet down, from the trail to the bottom of the slide (Photo courtesy of Sitka Trail Works)

A section of the Sitka Cross Trail is closed until further notice, after a landslide washed out about 30 feet of the trail over the weekend. 

Sitka Trail Works Executive Director Ben Hughey said the “slump” occurred just past the Cascade Bridge, between the Kramer Avenue trailhead and the Cascade Creek access point, sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

“It took out the entire base of the Cross Trail,” Hughey said. “A hiker called in, and we were able to get a couple photos and post a warning on Facebook as soon as we heard about it, since it does pose a potential danger to bikers coming from the north, coming downhill.”

The Sitka Cross Trail is on city land and managed by the city of Sitka. Hughey said the city plans to send out an engineer to assess the area, but so far the timeline and strategy for reconstruction is unclear. 

“Based on what I’ve seen, it appears that the slump and slide continued a long ways downhill, meaning that rebuilding will be a considerable effort,” Hughey said. “The foundation for the trail base seems to be totally obliterated.”

Hughey said it wasn’t the only slide that took place over the weekend. 

“I think this is a good reminder that on heavy rain event days, we all have to be really heads up when we’re in the woods that these slides could happen at any time,” Hughey said. “There was rockfall out in Silver Bay, near the Gary Paxton Industrial Park. It’s just really good to be mindful when we have these heavy rain events.”

A news release from the city states that the trail is closed from Cascade Creek Bridge to Kramer Avenue until further notice due to the “erosion and embankment failure.”

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Sitka Trail Works is managed by the city. Sitka Trail Works is a nonprofit that constructed the trail, and the Sitka Cross Trail is on city property and managed by the city. This story has been updated.