Best Desert Hikes Washington
by Alan L. Bauer & Dan A. Nelson (The Mountaineers Books)
© Alan L. Bauer & Dan A. Nelson/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
I'm not sure this locator is placed correctly on trails.com - be sure to check the guide book. The Skyline Ridge goes to the full ridgeline above the Yakima river - not too hard to find from the description. Once you start on the road past the gate, look straight up the hill - you are going just left of that location.
I had to leave the car about 1/4 of the way to the trail head - you definitely need a stout 4-wheel drive car to take the road past the gate. Just park in the parking area, go through the gate, and take a peaceful walk to the trail head if you have a low clearance vehicle.
At the trail head, the trail is on the right just before the trailhead, (which is nothing more than an unauthorized access sign ), and leads you up a tight canyon. The walk was pleasant, and a minor workout. In May, the biggest issue was the very strong wind - I had a full wind-proof jacket, pants, gloves and hat when it was in the mid 60's and I get pretty warm.
Towards the top, things get confused. You can follow the trail left, all good, but the easiest ridge access is to the right. Resist the urge to go right, and follow the trail left then double back near the ridge to climb up to the nearest rise and a great rock formation that blocks the wind. I hid behind that rock formation and had incredible views of the dam, railroad and highway running along the river. Wildflowers were in full bloom, hawks worked the wind patterns of the steep descent, and there was even a comfortable place to sit. I felt like I walked up a three star hike and found a five star spot for lunch and rest - I spent almost two hours there relaxing. The trail along the canyon was not interesting given the ridiculous wind levels, so I went back down very pleased with the hike.
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