Named after and built in honor of an Ellensburg wrestling coach, this trail provides the sought-after combination of great workout and big views. But its exposed; you'll want to be up here in spring or fall, because the direct sun of summer and lack of water can make this one a burner (literally).
From the parking area on Cove Road, head straight up and around the gate and shortly cross a small footbridge over an irrigation channel. This is the only water you'll see on your hike, and you won't want to drink it, so be sure to carry all you'll need.
Continue on. You'll notice how wide the trail is; that's from hikers traveling side-by-side over the years, illustrating how important it is to stay on the established trail. Further along, the way narrows more to true trail, but for now you and your group can hike side-by-side if you like, keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes.
About 0.3 miles in, the trail splits. While both ways climb, the left fork continues slightly lower, following the gully. The right climbs the unsigned Ridge Nose Trail.
Taking a left, keeps you on the Westberg Trail all the way to the top, though one small section is known locally as the Girl Scout Trail. But for the next 2 miles, you'll climb relentlessly. Some sections do have a more moderated grade. These are where WTA crews realigned parts of the trail to make them more sustainable. You'll get a reprieve from the steepness near Halfway Pine, a good spot to stop, rest, have some water and enjoy the views.
Because the views (and the wildflowers) are the best part of the Westberg Trail. Across the Kittitas valley rises the Stuart Range, snowy sometimes into early June. Closer to hand (or foot) are a bouquet of wildflowers: lupine, balsamroot, phlox, asters, paintbrush and sagebrush litter the ground. As tempting as it might be, please don't pick them. Leave them for future hikers to enjoy.
The memorial site for Ray Westburg (for whom the trail is named) includes some of the best views of all. It's marked by a small monument, also known as 'The Book'. Once there, you'll have climbed 1800 feet from the trailhead. Take a break, take a look around, and catch your breath before heading back the way you came.
WTA Pro Tip: This is just one way to hike Manastash Ridge. There are a myriad of different ways to the top. Search WTA's Hiking Guide to find more ways to explore Manastash Ridge.