The light produced by the one and only spring can be seen as we now near the end of the long tunnel known as winter. Somehow, we all managed to survive the hustle and bustle of the holiday filled season and escape the captivity of the cold as the weather begins to warm and we can finally enjoy being outside once again. Finally, we can be active outdoors again instead of inactive indoors, and what better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than by breathing in the fresh air while taking a nice, long hike at some of Yakima’s local hiking trails!
Yakima River Canyon
Those who choose to take a hike at Untanum Canyon in the Yakima area are in for an interesting and unique 6.5-mile walk round trip. Typically, this walk lasts two hours for hikers and begins at a suspension bridge over the Yakima River, crosses active railroad tracks, and follows the Utanum Creek up through the canyon and past remnants of a homestead with heirloom apple trees. In the spring, bighorn sheep, deer, and elk visit the canyon, so be careful of the wildlife when walking during this time of year!
Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserve
Yakima River Canyon
A hike that’s not only beautiful but also features the breathtaking basalt daisies is the Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserve Trail. The trail was established in 1993 and works to protect the basalt daisy, a state-listed threatened species, along a 10-mile section of the Yakima River Canyon. These daisies root in cracks and fissures on the rock faces of basalt cliffs and blooms May through October, peaking in June and creating a picture-perfect walk. The trail features a half-mile interpretive loop and a two-mile out-and-back trip toward the Fred G Redmon Bridge. The cliffs the trail runs along are also nesting habitats for prairie falcons, red-tailed hawks, and kestrels, so this is the perfect trail for bird and flower lovers!
Highway 410 Chinook Pass
Families in the Yakima area looking to let the kiddos blow off some steam should consider heading on over to Boulder Cave. This easy trail hike is excellent for the young ones as there is only a 300-foot elevation gain during the walk. Along the way, there are plenty of interpretive signs about the local ecology and history, multiple viewpoints, and a lookout platform with a canyon view.
When hikers get to the 400-foot cave, they’re definitely going to need a flashlight to see a small stream that runs through it that continues down the gorge toward the parking area. This area is a habitat for the Pacific western big-eared bat, so keep your eyes peeled, and you might catch a glimpse of some. Just remember that they are a sensitive species, so please remember to whisper and don’t touch or shine lights on the cave walls.
Highway 12 White Pass
Hiking the trail on Round Mountain is no easy take. The moderate to strenuous steep climb consists of switchbacks through the forest with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, all through a 5.2-mile round trip that lasts anywhere from 3 to 4 hours. For those who make it, there is an amazing view waiting at the top from an old forest service lookout station that showcases Mt. Adams, Bear Creek Mountain, Tieton Peak to the south, and Rimrock Lake and Clear Lake down below.
Naches Peak Loop
Highway 410, Chinook Pass
Spectacular views of Mt. Rainier can be seen on the western side of the Naches Peak Loop Trail, along with wildflower meadows and cascading streams. Adventurers begin the walk by crossing the log bridge at the top of Chinook Pass along a gentle climb. Eventually, there is a small pond along the trail with nearby large rocks that are a perfect picnic stop, so don’t forget to pack a lunch for this hike!
Of course, these aren’t the only hiking trails in our Yakima community. Other trails like Cowiche Canyon Trail, Snow Mountain Ranch Trails, Ahtanum Ridge, Cleman Mountain, and Tieton Nature Trail also showcase the beauty of our Yakima area’s great outdoors while giving us a chance as citizens to enjoy the beauty of our native land. So, get outside and take a hike this summer season before the cold creeps back in!