Manastash RidgeDirections: From eastbound Interstate 90, take exit 101 (Thorp Highway). Right off the exit, two miles, right on Cove Road, past two stop signs, parking is on the right just after the second stop sign 1,700-foot elevation. It is six-mile round trip hike from the trail head to the top and back.
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The Old Umptanum Stagecoach Route (see Scenic Drives) to Yakima is a
scenic sagebrush road that meanders up onto the foothills surrounding
the southern boundary of the valley, which leads to the Umptanum Falls
trailhead. The smaller and hidden waterfall is a pleasant surprise in
what is otherwise a desert area. The falls are surrounded on three sides
by dark basalt formations where the water pours into the punch bowl 40
feet below. The trail continues around the basalt walls where you may
hike down to its base. The Umptanum Ridge is just west of the trailhead
to Umptanum Falls where x-country skiing is available during the winter.
Take Main Street south until it turns into Canyon Road. Turn right onto
Umptanum Road (there is a Subway at this intersection). Follow this
road for 9.8 miles. Look for the numbered Bluebird boxes. One half mile
past bluebird box No. 73, turn into the large gravel parking lot on the
left. There is a large Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife sign
that says "Umptanum Falls." This hike is 2 miles round trip and
considered easy. View Trail Guide info.
L.T. Murray Wildlife Area
With over 50,000 acres of land, there is boundless recreational opportunities, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, sightseeing, picnicking, photography, ATV / Quad vehicle use (Green Dot road system), hunting and fishing, sledding and watching the annual elk feeding in winter. (Feed is generally put out at 8:00 a.m., but elk are visible throughout the day). The landscape rises from sagebrush steppe hillsides to dense stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir and is home to a large elk herd, mule deer, bear, spotted owls, northern goshawk, golden eagles, pileated woodpeckers, salmon, migratory and local birds, beaver, and other small mammals. Take the Thorp Exit from Interstate 90 (exit 101); Turn left on the Thorp Highway, cross over I-90 and proceed about 3/4 mile to Thorp Cemetery road and turn right (one mile south of the exit); travel west for 2.5 miles and turn left on Watt Canyon Road. During the winter, the elk feeding site is located one mile past the turn. Parking is available at the site. The gates at Robinson and Joe Watt Canyon are closed to all public use from late November-early December each year and re-open on May 1st. For more information call 509-925-6746. A free map of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area is available at the Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce or the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife in Ellensburg.
Irene Rinehart Riverfront Trail
There are two options to explore this city park. Immediately on your left when you pull into the park entrance there is a parking lot. Park here to relax and enjoy the Yakima River. There is an easy trail that follows along the river and will wrap around to the other side of Carey Lake. This trail is used by x-country skiers during the winter. The second option is to drive straight at the park entrance on a narrow but paved road to the lawned park area along Carey Lake. Here you may enjoy a peaceful picnic, wade or swim in the lake, take an inter-tube out in the pond, or just enjoy a little sunbathing opportunity. This is a great spot for all ages as well as for bird watching (check out the First Saturday Birdwalk at 8am each month) and biking. Other amenities include a boat landing, sand volleyball, picnic and barbecue facilities, hiking/biking trails, and grass areas. Take Main Street South until it turns into Canyon Road. Take a left at Umptanum Road (there is a Subway, & McDonalds at this intersection.) After about a mile, the park entrance will be on the right. View Trail Guide info.
A favorite low impact high desert trail is Umptanum Creek, located south of Ellensburg inside the Yakima Canyon. The trail is listed as an important bird area by the Washington State Audubon Society. Park at the BLM's Umptanum Recreation Site and cross the river via the suspension bridge and follow the Umptanum Creek trail (4 miles RT) up the valley past beaver dams and old fruit trees that mark the sites of old homesteads. Or, you may climb cross-country to one or several of the high points along Umptanum Ridge (6 miles RT). Follow Main Street until it changes into Canyon Road. Continue south out of town where the road will lead into the Yakima Canyon (SR #821). Almost half way through the canyon there is the Umptanum Recreation Site on the right hand side. Turn in and park. A parking fee is required from May 15 - September 15.
The hike to Taneum Lake is great for families or anyone just wanting to take a nice easy stroll. The hike is only 2.2 miles round trip with very little elevation gain. The trail winds gently downhill, curving along the mountainside through old growth forest, open meadows and rocky slopes. The lake is surrounded by evergreen forest. There are a couple of campsites located at this lake. Although there are trails in which allow motorized vehicles and horses in the area of Taneum Lake, this particular trail is for hikers only.
From Main St. turn right on Umptanum Road (at the Subway & McDonalds) and travel for 1.7 miles. Turn right onto Manastash Road. Travel 21.1 miles and go just past the Manastash Campground. Turn left at the "T" onto F.S. road 3100. Follow the signs to Taneum Lake. At five miles turn to the right into a parking area at the trailhead. A Forest Service pass is not required for this trail.
Green Canyon / Naneum-Wilson Trail
This region displays the beauty of the valley from a different perspective. This area north of town offers a variety of opportunities for those with outdoor interests including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and off-road vehicles. For hiking, take Reecer Creek road west and north to the end of the county road and continue north on FS Road 35, climbing onto Table Mountain. At the end of the asphalt surface, go east on FS Road 3521 about 3 miles to Trail #1371. It crosses the road here, and there is no trailhead. The moderate trail is 6.5 miles in length. This is also a special place for rockhounders to search for the renowned Ellensburg blue agates. Please call Rock 'N' Tomahawk Ranch at 962-2403 for more information on rock-hounding in this area. View Trail Guide info.