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Oak Creek Road - Bethel Ridge

Central Washington > Yakima
46.7267, -120.8114 Map & Directions
6.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
800 feet
Highest Point
2,500 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hikers enjoy the views from Bethel Ridge above Oak Creek Canyon. Photo by mytho-man. Full-size image
  • Wildlife
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Fall foliage
  • Rivers

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
Saved to My Backpack

This is a scenic, easy to moderate hike or snowshoe up a broad canyon with a good chance of spotting bands of elk. Continue reading

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Hiking Oak Creek Road - Bethel Ridge

If you’re looking for an easy to moderate winter hike or snowshoe with a good chance of seeing elk, give the Oak Creek Road west of Yakima a try.

From the gate at Hwy 12 the road climbs gently along the right hand (north) side of the broad canyon of Oak Creek through open shrub-steppe beneath nice basalt cliffs and outcrops. It’s along this stretch that you’ll most likely see any elk.

At 1.7 miles NPK canyon comes in from the right and the road curves above a large field with good views back down the canyon. A quarter mile farther along is Clint Canyon. Here the road abruptly enters a forest Garry Oaks, aspens, and cottonwoods, so thick at times it seems the road is tunneling through the trees.

2.5 miles from the highway is a clearing at the mouth of Pine Tree Canyon and in another three-quarter miles is the broad mouth of Hoover Canyon. Hoover or Pine Tree Canyons make good turn-around spots, but the road continues another 1.5 miles or so along Oak Creek to the mouth of Indian Creek where it begins climbing out of the canyon bottom on its way to Lynne & Bear Lakes.

The side canyons are mostly brushy, but for those who want to climb out of the canyon, there are steep game trails climbing the ridges between the side canyons, just be sure the winter elk feeding closure is not in effect for the land north of the road.

WTA Pro Tip: This road is closed to motorized travel in mid to late December, but receives little motorized use past the middle of November.

Hike Description Written by
David Hagen, WTA Correspondent

Oak Creek Road - Bethel Ridge

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.7267, -120.8114 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Yakima, drive 21 miles west on Hwy 12 to the Oak Creek Wildlife Area Visitor Center & Elk Feeding Station. Park in the large visitor center parking area or a few hundred yards up Hwy 12 in the pull-out at the Oak Creek Road gate.

More Hike Details


Central Washington > Yakima

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oak Creek Wildlife Area

Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Tieton 305

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Oak Creek Road - Bethel Ridge

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