Umtanum Creek Canyon
May 04, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Umtanum Creek Canyon
- Region: Eastern Washington -- Yakima
- Agency: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife - L.T. Murray State Wildlife Recreation Area
- Avg Rating: 3.36
- Why You Should Go Now
- Wildflowers blooming
Thanks to whoever laid the log bridges over the two main creek crossings. We walked 2 hours into the canyon, past suddenly giant lone ponderosa pines and across four talus slopes, following several large cairns to where the trail petered out at a high vista. Just before, my pole missed a rock and went instead into a crevice, and the next sound I heard was an insistent rattle. Oops. Several ticks joined us for lunch. However, these inconveniences were rewarded by the incredible high views of light and shadow and rocky relief, including looking *down* on a splendid great blue heron on a long flight high up-canyon right towards us.
This place is amazing and every visit has new surprises. We saw a pair of kestrels copulating on a snag, a lone male bighorn sheep lying down on a ridge across the canyon (lucky sighting), and thousands and thousands of swallows both in the canyon and all along the Yakima on the way back to the freeway.
Not really a trail report detail, but it was hard to stop grinning on the way home at having outsmarted the weather. The sky was spitting rain on our final mile out, and light hail began when we got to the parking lot at 2 pm. The skies lowered and we left a downpour behind us, slogged through rain and snow at the pass, and then got seriously wet on the west side. Ha.