Shell Rock

Ellensburg, Washington

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All you’ll find here are rolling meadows, broad stands of fragrant ponderosa pine, wonderful views, and wildlife ranging from badgers to black bears. All that, and a modest elevation gain to boot. What more could you want from a desert escape? If you park at the start of Shell Rock Road (and for the sake of your vehicle’s oil pan, you should), walk up the road for about 1.2 miles as it climbs through the trees to the ridge top. Continue another 0.5 mile through a series of small clearings in the thinning ponderosa forest before breaking out in broad, open wildflower fields atop the ridge. You may continue along the road as it angles back along the ridge, but the better choice is to angle off the track heading to the right to explore the ridge top at your fancy. Loop back down to the road to hike back to your car.

Shell Rock Professional Review and Guide

"All you’ll find here are rolling meadows, broad stands of fragrant ponderosa pine, wonderful views, and wildlife ranging from badgers to black bears. All that, and a modest elevation gain to boot. What more could you want from a desert escape?

If you park at the start of Shell Rock Road (and for the sake of your vehicle’s oil pan, you should), walk up the road for about 1.2 miles as it climbs through the trees to the ridge top. Continue another 0.5 mile through a series of small clearings in the thinning ponderosa forest before breaking out in broad, open wildflower fields atop the ridge. You may continue along the road as it angles back along the ridge, but the better choice is to angle off the track heading to the right to explore the ridge top at your fancy. Loop back down to the road to hike back to your car."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Ellensburg
Distance: 6
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 4 hours
Season: September through November
Trailhead Elevation: 2,700 feet
Top Elevation: 3,800 feet
Local Contacts: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Local Maps: Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Yakima
Driving Directions: Directions to Shell Rock

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May 2018