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Umtanum Ridge Crest

Central Washington > Yakima
46.8554, -120.4829 Map & Directions
Length
6.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
2400 feet
Highest Point
3480 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate/Hard
Flowers near top of Umtanum Ridge. Photo by Jean K
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Wildlife
  • Ridges/passes
  • Summits
  • Dogs allowed on leash

Get a workout on this steep hike from Umtanum Creek to the ridge above the canyon. In spring, it is filled with wildflowers and birds, with chances of seeing rattlesnakes and bighorn sheep. Continue reading

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Hiking Umtanum Ridge Crest

Get a workout on this steep hike from Umtanum Creek to the ridge above the canyon. In spring, it is filled with wildflowers and birds, with chances of seeing rattlesnakes and bighorn sheep. In the fall, there are amazing views from Ellensburg to the Wenas to Yakima and more with fall foliage. 

This shares a trailhead with the Umtanum Creek Canyon trail at the Umtanum Recreation Site. This is a popular site for fisherman and floaters as well as limited camping. The trail is a sandy route that begins at the Umtanum Recreation Center and crosses the Yakima River and the railroad tracks on a suspension bridge, then go under the tracks, and turn to your left to find the trail. This is a small, unsigned dirt path. 

Not far down the trail is a wooden sign board posted with notices. The trail is unmarked otherwise; this junction where the Umtanum Creek Canyon Trail goes straight (or to the right). To reach the ridgeline, take the well-trodden path to the left. It will soon begin to increase in elevation as you meander through desert sagebrush and wildflowers, passing a lovely quaking aspen grove before turning to the west. Shortly after you will come out and begin your ascent again going more south or southwest. 

After a mile of hiking, you'll enjoy views of the canyon below you. Another half mile of hiking reveals the snow-spangled Stuart Range to the north. The grade is persistent and moderately strenuous, until the last half mile, which intensifies, becoming steep and strenuous on the final push up the ridge. After a rain it might be a bit slippery but not bad enough to avoid. Some loose rock throughout the hike can be challenging as well. 

The fine sand on the steep grade will make every step slippery and precarious, but by mile 2.5 the top of the ridge comes into view. Cross the dirt road and continue on for just a little bit farther. At the ridge crest, it can be windy and cool as you approach the ridge, but you'll want to linger awhile for the massive views of Rainier and Adams at the top!

WTA Pro Tip: The parking lot is owned by BLM and fees are in place year-round; $5.00 a car.

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

Umtanum Ridge Crest

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.8554, -120.4829 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

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 I-90, take exit 109. Turn left on Canyon Road. Continue 11.7 miles to the Umtanum Creek Recreation Area. The parking lot is on the right side of the road. Pull into the parking lot and continue until you see the bridge. 

From the south, take exit 26 at the Yakima Firing/Training Center. Take a left at the stop sign and continue on the road until Umtanum Recreation Site (you will pass Roza, Big Pines, and Lmuna). Signs will give you advanced warning. Turn left into the entrance. 

The parking lot is owned by BLM and fees are in place year-round; it is $5.00 a car. Frequent day use visitors may wish to purchase the Daily Annual Use Permit as an alternative to the day use fee. This is a separate pass. Contact the BLM at 509-665-2100 for details.

The America the Beautiful pass is acceptable for this parking lot.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Central Washington > Yakima

Bureau of Land Management

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Umtanum Ridge Crest

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