If you are looking for a quick weekend getaway from Seattle, there is nothing a place like Yakima region and hidden in it is Umtanum Canyon Trail Hike. The landscape changes drastically as you cross the mountains over the Snoqualmie Pass. It is almost like a curtain opening. The Narrow roads between the mountains on both sides, just wide opens into acres and acres of open land with hills on the horizon and river flowing parallel to you. Yakima river has made the valley extremely beautiful. The town itself is not much populated and you get a sense that may be technology hasn’t reached here yet. The setting is nothing short of a movie set.
Umtanum Canyon Trail hike is one of the few desert hikes of Washington area is about couple hour distance from Seattle. It a has plenty to offer from a suspension bridge, to rail track, wildflowers, amazing views of cascades, eagles flying over, birds singing and if the Sun is out, the place is a pure heaven in solitude.
The hike is about 9 miles round trip and is marked nicely. The best part is that the hike lets you feel that you are amidst nature unlike other trails where it becomes very synthetic at one point.
Reasons to check Umtanum Canyon Trail hike
- Experience the suspension bridge over yakima river
- free to create your own hike if you don’t want to follow the markings
- A lot of wildflowers and birds in the canyon
- Yakima river stream adds beauty to the canyon
- Pull up anywhere across the road and enjoy watching people fish
- Camp at night under the stars and Cliffs watching over you
- Grab any hill and hike it and get amazing views of Cascades in the horizon.
How to get there to Umtanum Canyon Trail Hike
From I-90, take exit 110. From there, continue east on I-82 about 3.5 miles to Exit 3 for Thrall Road. At the stop sign, turn right onto SR 821. Turn left at the next stop sign, and proceed southeast along 821 into Yakima Canyon. Continue eight miles to the Umtanum Recreation Area. The parking lot is on the right side of the road. The parking lot is owned by BLM and fees are in place from mid-May to mid-September; $5.00 a car.
Our Stay: Suggested Itinerary for Umtanum Canyon Trail Hike.
Even thought Umtanum Canyon Trail hike can be done in a day and you can be back to seattle, we decided to take it easy and have a more relaxed weekend. Hence, we decided to spread it between Saturday and Sunday.
We drove into Ellensburg on Saturday around noon from Seattle and reached there by 4:00 in the evening. There was plenty of sunlight and after we checked into our hotel: Holiday Inn Express in and we drove into the town.
Things to do in Ellensburg
- Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park: a beautiful and quiet park on Yakima River. Perfect for a walk, bike ride or just relax and enjoy the river breeze.
- Then we decided to grab dinner at El Caporal II Mexican restaurant. It was a good restaurant with nothing fancy about t and very reasonable.
- And finally before calling in the night we went for a movie in a very quaint looking movie theater: Grand Meridian Cinema for London has Fallen.
- Then next day is when we did our Umtanum Canyon Trail hike.
It was an amazing weekend, that left me sore for few days. Amazing part was that it is super close from Seattle and is totally worth it.
Next on the list after this beautiful hike of Umtanum Canyon Trail is Ancient Lakes.