Yakima Skyline Ridge

Yakima, Washington

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1 Review
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The L. T. Murray State Wildlife Recreation Area offers some of the best desert hiking in the state, and this far-eastern edge of the preserve boasts the best of the best. Unmatched desert wildflowers bless the dry brown hills with vibrant colors. You’ll also find an array of birds and animals— swallows, swifts, bluebirds, chukars, quails, magpies, partridges, hawks, and eagles grace the sky while deer, elk, bighorn sheep, coyotes, rock chucks (marmots), badgers, hares, and an army of other small mammals roam the desert floor.
Best Desert Hikes Washington

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Desert Hikes Washington

by Alan L. Bauer & Dan A. Nelson (The Mountaineers Books)

The L. T. Murray State Wildlife Recreation Area offers some of the best desert hiking in the state, and this far-eastern edge of the preserve boasts the best of the best. Unmatched desert wildflowers bless the dry brown hills with vibrant colors.

You’ll also find an array of birds and animals— swallows, swifts, bluebirds, chukars, quails, magpies, partridges, hawks, and eagles grace the sky while deer, elk, bighorn sheep, coyotes, rock chucks (marmots), badgers, hares, and an army of other small mammals roam the desert floor.

©  Alan L. Bauer & Dan A. Nelson/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Yakima
Distance: 8
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 4 to 6 hours
Season: March through July
Trailhead Elevation: 2,000 feet
Top Elevation: 3,000 feet
Local Contacts: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Local Maps: Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Yakima
Driving Directions: Directions to Yakima Skyline Ridge

Recent Trail Reviews

5/3/2011
0

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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May 2018