Yakima-Umtanum Desert - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-30-2015, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: New Westminster
Interest: Backpacking, hiking, scrambling, mountaineering
Posts: 15
Default Yakima-Umtanum Desert

In search of terrain unique from the West Coast, I spent this past weekend hiking in the desert conditions of the Umtanum-Yakima area (Hwy 821 south of Ellensburg; about 4.5-5 hrs from Vancouver depending upon traffic). Day 1 was a hike down Umtanum Creek Canyon - pretty easy, and a quick payoff with rocky cliffs around and Bighorn Sheep checking us out; a quick but steep climb to the top of the canyon on the north side from the parking lot and then a hike along the ridge allowed for more of a workout. On Day 2 we hiked up and along Yakima Skyline Ridge (4x4 or AWD with good clearance allows for less road hiking to the TH, otherwise add on 4km roundtrip from the gate. While in most years this would be the peak time for wildflowers, they were largely past their prime. Still, some were still out and there were great views up the valley and of Mt Adams to the south. Four campsites along Hwy 821 (Umtanum was not particularly appealing: small and next to the main parking lot for all of the day hikers) with Big Pines being the largest and nicest (and free this time of year!). Many more trails I want to explore here next year.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 05-01-2015, 08:55 AM
High on the Mountain Top
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Mackenzie, BC, Canada.
Interest: hiking, skiing, camping, SAR, Canadian Rangers (army reserve)
Posts: 1,515

Neat! Reminds me a bit of Fraser Canyon..

Who needs a signature? Mine is always: Last edited by dougz; Today at 03:27 PM
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-07-2015, 09:23 AM
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: North Vancouver, , .
Interest: Exploring BC ... preferably self propelled, self supported with free heels and a free spirit
Posts: 321

Nice pics and report.

This area is a perennial favourite for winter-weary trailrunners:

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 05-07-2015, 05:47 PM
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: North of the Wall
Posts: 105

Great photos. Very different area down there - doesn't seem too west coast.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 01:46 AM
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Gulf Islands, BC, Canada.
Posts: 238

It's amazing how fast things change once you cross those mountains. That corner of Washington is definitely worth exploring.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 02:17 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Abbotsford, B.C., Canada.
Interest: Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Photography. Enjoying the outdoors fresh air and fitness experience.
Posts: 17,919

Neat , beautiful spot.

Just as Doug wrote, this one reminds me of the BC Canyon area near and north of Lillooet

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