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Trip Report

Snow Mountain Ranch and Cowiche Mountain, Tieton River Nature Trail — Saturday, May. 23, 2015

Central Washington
Cascadians, Service Road Loop Photo (c) David Hagen
I led my fourth Sagebrush Ramble of the season for the Cascadians today on what I call the Service Road Loop on the Cowiche Unit of the Oak Creek Wildlife Area just west of Snow Mtn Ranch. We started at the Snow Mtn Ranch parking lot and walked over to the Riparian Overlook Trail, climbed it up to the top of the bench, and then walked up to the pass-through in the elk fence. From here we made our way over to an old two-track that climbs south up a broad ridge of Cowiche Mtn to about the 2300' level, then turns northwest and traverses to about the 2500' level in about 2 miles where there is a junction with another two track coming up from the northeast. We had lunch here & lingered for an hour or so and then headed down the two-track almost to Cowiche Creek where another two track runs east almost to Snow Mtn Ranch, then turns southeast into a ravine and climbs onto the broad ridge where we had started. From here we returned to our cars at Snow Mtn Ranch the way we came in. The total trip was almost 8 miles. Most of the best wildflowers were past and it was a little brown, but there were still some nice desert buckwheats and linear-leaf & diffuse daisies. In the morning it was partly cloudy with a nice cool breeze, but it cleared up as we ate and became pretty warm. We saw a deer, 3 elk, and a bull snake, but no rattlesnakes nor ticks and (on this first day of a holiday weekend) no other hikers.
Ravine, Service Road Loop Photo (c) David Hagen
Wildflowers & Cowiche Mtn Photo (c) David Hagen
Cloud Over Mt Cleman Photo (c) David Hagen