Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category


KCTS 9 – Explore the Outdoors: Yakima River Canyon

Original articles and images posted to KCTS 9, May 17, 2016

by John Taylor

You might sit on one of these ridges on some warm spring afternoon just to watch the Yakima River glide through the canyon below. You’ll swear that river hasn’t really moved, hasn’t changed, hasn’t heard anything anyone has said for 10,000 years.
The Yakima River Canyon. Photo by KCTS 9

The Yakima River Canyon. Photo by KCTS 9

It’s one of those Northwest constants, you might tell yourself. A comfort in an upside-down world of computerized chaos and political provocation. A free spirit that’s oblivious to the hum of Interstate 82 traffic over the crests to the east, the buzz of boat motors on its surface or the throaty snarls of Harleys that make their way up and down scenic State Route 821 along its banks.
And yet…



Rejuvenation in Teanaway country

By Andrea Imler, The Wilderness SocietyOpen ridge on Yellow Hill hike

Until last Saturday, I hadn’t been out on a hike in months. Typing those words is foreign to me, a hiking addict, but they are true. I spent the winter and spring training for road bike racing season, for once determined to focus on a single athletic activity. The hustle and bustle of living in Seattle – loud sirens, constant connection to technology and the concrete jungle were getting to me. I needed to mix things up. I needed a hike. Teanaway Country was calling my name.

The alarm went off and I sprang out of bed. The sun was shining, birds were singing and I was going hiking. What better way to kick off the weekend? My boyfriend and I ate breakfast quickly, grabbed our pre-packed backpacks and headed out the door.

Less than two hours later we parked at the Yellow Hill trailhead in the Teanaway. Ahh, the Teanaway. The Teanaway is one of my favorite places in the North Cascades. I’m not sure what it is about the Teanaway, but I love it. Perhaps it’s the unofficial motto: “It’s always sunny in the Teanaway!” Or maybe it’s the pine trees or the fact that its home to some amazing rocks, rare flowers and one of Washington state’s rare wolf packs. Perhaps it’s simply because it’s Teanaway Country – it draws you in.

The Teanaway has certainly drawn me in. I’ve hiked up sixteen peaks, some formally named like Navaho Peak, while others not officially labeled on a map. My feet have walked well over a hundred miles in the Teanaway, to sparkling blue alpine lakes and through snowmelt-swollen creeks. And I’ve slept under the stars there countless times.

View from Yellow Hill

A few hours later we reached our destination, the top of Yellow Hill. Well, not exactly the top. The summit of Yellow Hill is covered in trees. We made our way down the adjoining ridge and were treated with an expansive view of the surrounding Teanaway peaks. We sat down on a rock outcropping, ate our lunches and enjoyed the feeling that we were the only people around for miles. I felt rejuvenated.

Interested in doing this hike? Check out Washington Trails Association’s Hiking Guide entry about Yellow Hill and Elbow Peak. Note: as of posting this blog, consistent snow began at 4800′ on the trail, which is about a mile from the top of Yellow Hill.


Ellensburg Daily Record: Umtanum Canyon: A springtime treat for area hikers

by Dick Ambrose

Ellensburg Daily Record

April 27, 2010

I’ll never forget the first time I set foot in Umtanum Canyon. I was visiting my wife to be, Katie. Her family took me to the canyon. It was early March, but the canyon was already starting to green up. I saw my first ever sagebrush buttercup, its waxy yellow blossoms gleaming in the bright sunlight. I stood in awe of the black basalt cliffs that rose into the sky; colored with a variety of orange, yellow, grey and black lichens. I was hooked on sagebrush country from that time on.

The birds

We spotted a variety of birds and watched several deer on the hillside looking at us intently. Many animals make their home in the canyon and surrounding country. Elk, deer, mountain sheep and coyotes are often spotted. Audubon Society has given Umtanum Creek a special designation because of the diversity of birds that can be found in this riparian zone. Nesting on the basalt cliffs are falcons and golden eagles. Also look for the uncommon and brightly colored lazuli buntings. Lewis woodpeckers, bullock’s orioles and mountain bluebirds also can be seen, so do not forget your binoculars. Beavers have also found a good home in the canyon. You most likely will not see them, but you will certainly see their activity.

Continue reading the story.


Hiking Esmeralda Basin

A meadow along the Esmeralda Basin trail

A popular hike throughout the summer and fall, Esmeralda Basin features both dramatic views and gorgeous wildflowers – it’s not hard to see why people love it.

Even the trailhead for this hike is picturesque – two picnic tables beneath a waterfall offer you the perfect place to make sure you have your 10 essentials , didn’t leave any valuables in the car, and to lace up your hiking boots. The first quarter mile or so (running parallel to the north fork of the Teanaway River) is a bit steep but don’t fear, it becomes easier quickly and allows a chance hikers to catch their breath.

At about .4 miles the trail enters a lush meadow and splits off from the Ingalls Lake trail. The Ingalls Lake trail forks right and slopes up but stay headed straight. The trail will take you through a series of lovely meadows – it would be a great idea to bring a wildflower identification guide on this hike!

At 2 miles, the abandoned mining road will curve off to the right and you will continue up switchbacks toward Fortune Creek Pass. At 3.1 miles you will come to another junction – the Esmeralda Basin trail turns west and down to Fortune Creek and The County Line trail heads north to an unnamed pass above Lake Ann. Stop here an take in the spectacular views of Hawkins Mountain and the Alpine Lake Wilderness.

The trail continues north from here, dropping down to Lake Ann and then on to Van Epps Pass and 4X4 country.

Roundtrip hiking distance is 7 miles and gains 1750 feet. As with any excursion, don’t forget your 10 essentials , and for this hike you will need a Northwest Forest Pass .

Directions to the trailhead: From I-90 heading east get off at Exit No. 85 then go east (right) onto Highway 970 and in about 7 miles turn left onto Teanaway River Road. Continue about 13 miles to a road junction just past 29 Pines Campground (where pavement ends) and Forest Service Road No. 9737 begins. Drive about 10 miles on Road No. 9737 to the end of the road and trailhead, elevation 4,200 feet.

Fish. Families. Farms.
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