larman and I took the mothers (Anna Purna and Denali Girl) of our children out for a Mother's Day stroll in the desert... instead of buying them flowers on this special occasion, we just gave them all of the beautiful flowers in the Umtanum area... arrowleaf balsamroot dominated the scene with a sprinkling of bluebells, sagebrush violets, large-headed clover, shooting stars (kind of a surprise), waterleaf, lupine, phlox, hedgehog cactus and some with which we were unfamiliar.
Drive I-90 east of Ellensburg... take exit 110 onto I-82 east... then take exit 3... turn right at the stop sign... drive a short distance and turn left onto State Route 821... then drive 8.5 miles down Yakima Canyon and park at the Umtanum Recreation Area where there is room for lots of vehicles in the paved parking lot.
Cross the Yakima River on a suspension bridge... go underneath the railroad tracks and soon come to an unsigned fork in the trail... where 95 percent of the hikers will continue straight, staying low along the creek... however, we turned left at the fork and headed uphill... making the gradual climb up to Umtanum Ridge... finding distant views of Adams, Rainier and The Stuart Range.
Many loop trips are available from the ridge and we did go off trail on our return to the car... eventually reconnecting with the trail .75 miles from where we went under the railroad tracks on our way up.
In addition to all of the flowers, we saw a herd of 8 bighorn sheep and one snake (not a rattler) relaxing on the dirt road that runs along the ridge.
If you want to see a hedgehog cactus, you will most likely need to get up to the ridge... where you will find a ton of them... much more prevalent than on Whiskey Dick Ridge... and unlike Whiskey Dick, we were actually able to stand up straight on Umtanum Ridge.
~6 miles roundtrip, gaining ~2000 feet of elevation.
larman and I took the mothers (Anna Purna and Denali Girl) of our children out for a Mother's Day stroll in the desert... instead of buying them flowers on this special occasion, we just gave them all of the beautiful flowers in the Umtanum area...
Ah, I've been waiting to see these... and they don't disappoint... beautiful. Looks like you were there at the right time. My only visit to that area a couple years ago was in mid April and there wasn't much in the way of a flower display yet. It may be time to go back...
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