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A & A Backpacking


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Umtanum Summary
April 1999
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Round Trip Length: 19 miles if you take the loop and park at the trailhead (one heck of a lot longer if you must park far back because you drove a Buick to get there and it can't cross Umtanum Creek) Elevation: not so much gain/loss if you take the loop (once again, one heck of a lot more if you don't take a 4wd with high clearance)
Umtanum/Yakima Rim Skyline Trail We did this trail in April when the snow still clung to the higher hills and i would say that this particular trail I will never do again. If you like garbage, almost constant traffic, and no water than you'll love this hike. The Skyline trail stretches from the Canyon just south of Ellensburg almost to Yakima. Not recommended after May because of the heat, flies and snakes. Yes it is desert and you won't see a lot of green, if any. According to 55 Hikes in Central Washington by Irving and Manning this can be a loop trip. We hear this trail made it into the book because of wildflowers you can see in the spring, and because it's the only place in Washington that cactus grows naturally. But I wouldn't recommend it. The way is not pretty and the only reward would be the leg of the trail that overlooks the Yakima River. If you make it to the trailhead, enjoy the best views of the trip which include the highway between Yakima and Ellensburg, the towns of Yakima and Ellensburg, Mt. Adams on a clear day, and a lot of sage brush.
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