Umtanum Ridge (Nov 4, 2016)

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umtanum_ridge_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS The Cottonwoods
Area: Yakima
Reference: Desert Hikes Washington
Stats: 4.8mi, 1353' gain (round trip to Durr Rd)

October was wet...really western Washington. Record breaking wet. So Steve and I were desperate for a hike but not in the rain. For this first hike of November I checked the weather east. I thought maybe heading east we'd get good weather and really nice fall color. Thankfully this trip delivered on both.

We left from Green Lake and drove east. It's a bit of a drive getting to the trailhead but thankfully we had the gorgeous drive through Yakima Canyon as a distraction. We stopped once, right before our trailhead (at a pull off along the road) where we stopped to get out and check out the canyon views. This short drive through the canyon on Canyon Road is always gorgeous.

We reached the trailhead, found several other cars parked, and settled out the small amount of gear we'd need for our hike. I always love a hike that has a suspension bridge and this short one that crossed the Yakima River right out of the parking lot is beautiful. We crossed the bridge, went under the railroad tracks, picked up the trail on the other side and then right at the trailhead sign we headed left, up the side canyon that leads up to the top of the ridge and Durr Road. We could have headed right (straight) and headed into Umtanum Canyon itself but I thought Steve would enjoy the wide views we'd get heading uphill.

We enjoyed warmer than expected temps and beautiful blue skies on the hike. Fall color was going strong. All the summer flowers were reduced to beautiful seed heads. The aspen (or maybe cottonwood) trees in the canyon were a flaming color of gorgeous golden yellow. The trail climbs uphill slowly at first and then just goes full on direct/steep the last 100 feet up to the road.

We got up to Durr Rd, crossed it, and continued on to a minor high point were we dropped packs and stopped for lunch. We had views over to the snow covered peaks of The Enchantments and over to Mt Rainier and Mt Adams.

During the hike down back to the car, we stopped several times to photograph the color.
Umtanum Ridge Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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