May 03, 2003
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Cleman Mountain
- Region: Eastern Washington -- Yakima
- Agency: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Avg Rating: 2.40
A marvelous area for exploration....and early season hikes. We wonder why more hikers/backpackers don't use this area?
Basically, Cleman Mountain is laced with a network of green dot roads and abandoned logging access roads. The terrain is moderate with some jack pine and ponderosa pine. But a very open and inviting alpine steppe. So hikers can wander to their hearts content by setting a bearing and heading cross country or by trekking up on some of the jeep roads. Either way it is very enjoyable.
In our approach we found a nice camp site near a pond with a good flowing water source just off L.O. (Look Out) Road. Our initial plan was to load up the packs, including extra water - because we didn't know just where other water sources might be. Then, if we came upon a good camp site along the way we would spend the night....if not, then we would make a loop hike and end up back at the truck parked at the pond for the night. Our route began at approsimately elevation 3,200 feet, heading toward the ridge of Cleman Mountian, heading up what we thought was Mill Canyon on L.O. Road....the inclne is moderate but makes good gains. All along the route we had nice views toward the Stuart Range. As we approched the ridge we came upon a small herd of deer. A doe posed long enough for me to get the camera out and get a nice photo of her under an overhanging pine branch.
Once we reached the ridge top we wer greeted by terrific views of American ridge and beyond. If this had been a more clear day the views would include the whole of the South Cascades including Mount Rainier to Mount Adams.....while in the opposite direction one can have an outstanding view of the Stuart Range!
After our usual lunch break of Peanut butter sandwiches and dried fruit we hiked along the ridge to the look out at elevation 5,480 feet.....this is a fabulous ridge walk! As I mentioned the views are panoramic.
This is also where we found some confusion.....from our original plan we were going to go back down Box Spring Canyon and loop back to the truck. But, not finding a track to Box Spring Canyon.....we did find a track marked as Mill Canyon, but this wasn't in the right location according to our map. So, we started the trek back down.....after several miles we had the feeling that we had gone farther eastward than we had intended....only to find when we reached the canyon bottom that we had instead been following the Milk Canyon Road. The road/track is misnamed a the top! So, this route made our loop about 5 miles longer than we had intended. Oh well, we were looking to get in soome miles and a good work out!
By the time we reached the truck we were a bit leg weary after an approximatley 15 mile day. We had a nice Alpine Aire Chicken Ala King dinner...followed by our traditional hot chocolate (with a bit of rum) then into the tent for some rest......only to be seranaded by a chorus of 37 frogs for what seemed like several hours into the night.
On Sunday we woke up fairly well refreshed and ready to explore more of the area. We broke camp and drove to the next Canyon eastward, which we identified as Box Spring Canyon. We started this hike at approximately 3,800 feet and we were looking forward to solving the mystery of the misnamed roads. We found that the Box Spring road actually intersects back at the ridge very near the same location we reached the ridge on the previous day....but this track is not marked.....so, this solved the mystery of the map.
This is an area that deserves more exploration and more use....it could be used even earlier in the season.....coudll evenhave possibilities as a snowshe route. It is possible to drive up many of these roads now but not in the family minivan! These roads are pretty rugged.
On our back toward civilzation we took one more side trip. We parked the truck at the trail head to Umptanum Falls and took the short 1 mile hike to the falls. Umptanum creek flows along placidly then tumbles rather dramatically into a basalt basin. This falls is quite spectacular, especially for this dry area.....a definite must see when you are in the area.