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tigermn
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tigermn
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PostFri Apr 22, 2011 12:28 pm 
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And now for something completely different. My first "desert hike so to speak. I decided to head over to the Yakima Skyline trail.

Yakima Skyline trail south.
Yakima Skyline trail south.
Yakima Skyline trail north.
Yakima Skyline trail north.

The weather was pretty much a crap sandwich over Snoqualmie pass. Light snow flurries, temp 32 and clouds/fog.

It is rumored that finding this trailhead is the toughest part of the hike. I didn't have any issues finding the trailhead. I put it in my Garmin 60csx GPS based on the area on NW Tops maps said the trail started and my GPS led me turn by turn right to the trailhead.

Some of the direction mileages I have seen on the internet aren't accurate. This is not a difficult trailhead to find but the last couple of miles or so are on an at times rough dirt/gravel road but perfectly manageable just go slow.

From I-90:

1. Take Exit 110 to Highway 82 towards Yakima
2. Take exit 26 off of I-82 and turn right.
3. Go .2 miles and take a left on Harrison Road.
4. Go 1.88 miles and take a right on Wenas (you have to either go left or right).
5. After about 2.9 miles leave Wenas (which bends left and continues) and go right on Gibson.
6. After about .2 miles miles (it comes quick) take a right on Buffalo road.
7. Buffalo road turns to dirt in .5 miles and makes a hard right.
8. After 1.6 miles cross a cattle guard/drive through a fence as the road veers left.
9. Drive another .75 miles to the hairpin turn which is the trailhead.

Buffalo road to the Yakima Skyline trailhead.
Buffalo road to the Yakima Skyline trailhead.
I'm parked at the Yakima Skyline trailhead.
I'm parked at the Yakima Skyline trailhead.

I was ready to depart a tad after 10AM. Temps felt in the mid 40's and a breeze was blowing.

Starting up the Yakima Skyline trail.
Starting up the Yakima Skyline trail.

There were various flowers blooming around. The first seen  near the traiilhead.

Flowers on early Yakima Skyline trail.
Flowers on early Yakima Skyline trail.

The trail is marked by some 23 poles along the way and is very well defined even in the desert and easy to follow.

The trail wanders east a but before doing more of the climbing.

One of many trail marker poles on Yakima Skyline trail.
One of many trail marker poles on Yakima Skyline trail.

You literally have views every step of the way. Truly a hike that is all about the journey and not the destination.

Looking back down towards the Yakima river from the Yakima Skyline trail.
Looking back down towards the Yakima river from the Yakima Skyline trail.
More flowers on Yakima Skyline trail.
More flowers on Yakima Skyline trail.
Another marker pole on Yakima Skyline trail with a horse trail sign.
Another marker pole on Yakima Skyline trail with a horse trail sign.
Views back down towards the south from the Yakima Skyline trail.
Views back down towards the south from the Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.

A little past a mile up I could actually look down and see my car.

I can see my car a mile and some change up on the Yakima Skyline trail.
I can see my car a mile and some change up on the Yakima Skyline trail.
Looking east from Yakima Skyline trail.
Looking east from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views north east from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views north east from Yakima Skyline trail.
Another flower on Yakima Skyline trail.
Another flower on Yakima Skyline trail.
Pole with a blue ribbon on Yakima Skyline trail.
Pole with a blue ribbon on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.

In about 2.2 miles you reach the first summit which is around 2700 feet or so. There is also a horse hitching post and such. Views open up more to the north now. This in itself is a worthy destination if you are short on time or energy. Again this trail is not about a destination really but about the journey, however if you need a shorter destination this is a good one as if you go further you start descending.

Looking up towards first summit/blip on Yakima Skyline trail.
Looking up towards first summit/blip on Yakima Skyline trail.
Arrive at first summit a little over 2700 feet with a horse hitching post.
Arrive at first summit a little over 2700 feet with a horse hitching post.
Views from first summit on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from first summit on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from first summit on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from first summit on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from first summit on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from first summit on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from first summit on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from first summit on Yakima Skyline trail.

The trail now descends a bit going under some power lines and meandering along the ridge.

Flowers on Yakima Skyline trail.
Flowers on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail past 1st summit.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail past 1st summit.
Direction I am headed on Yakima Skyline trail.
Direction I am headed on Yakima Skyline trail.
Roza diversion dam from Yakima Skyline trail.
Roza diversion dam from Yakima Skyline trail.
Powerline crossing on Yakima Skyline trail.
Powerline crossing on Yakima Skyline trail.
Powerline crossing on Yakima Skyline trail.
Powerline crossing on Yakima Skyline trail.
Yakima Skyline trail rocks to side.
Yakima Skyline trail rocks to side.
Roza diversion dam from Yakima Skyline trail.
Roza diversion dam from Yakima Skyline trail.
Yakima river from Yakima Skyline trail.
Yakima river from Yakima Skyline trail.

About 1.4 miles past that first summit you reach Twin Springs which has a couple of water troughs for horses. Just before this you will find the only muddy spot and a very short steeper looser part of the trail.

Views down the canyon from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views down the canyon from Yakima Skyline trail.
A semi wooded area on Yakima Skyline trail. This would turn out to be the horse drinking spring.
A semi wooded area on Yakima Skyline trail. This would turn out to be the horse drinking spring.
Twin springs horse drinking area.
Twin springs horse drinking area.
Twin springs horse drinking area.
Twin springs horse drinking area.
View from Twin Springs.
View from Twin Springs.
A mud spot just before the Twin Springs horse drinking area.
A mud spot just before the Twin Springs horse drinking area.

The trail continues along the ridge with more nice views as you go.

A gate a little past the Twin Springs area on Yakima Skyline trail.
A gate a little past the Twin Springs area on Yakima Skyline trail.
Looking towards the highest summit on Yakima Skyline trail.
Looking towards the highest summit on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.

Just under a mile from the horse drinking bar you hit a high point on the trail and can see a boot path going up to the left towards the high point on the ridge (named Gracie Point). This also parallels some old fence posts.

Bootpath turnoff to get to the high point (Gracie point).
Bootpath turnoff to get to the high point (Gracie point).
Trail along fence towards high point on Yakima Skyline ridge.
Trail along fence towards high point on Yakima Skyline ridge.
Boundary marker Trail along fence towards high point on Yakima Skyline ridge.
Boundary marker Trail along fence towards high point on Yakima Skyline ridge.
Views nearing high point of Yakima Skyline ridge.
Views nearing high point of Yakima Skyline ridge.
Views nearing high point of Yakima Skyline ridge.
Views nearing high point of Yakima Skyline ridge.

After about 1/4 mile on the bootpath and 250 feet Gracie point is reached. It was too breezy up here to really stop and eat lunch so I took a few pictures then started to head down a more direct route back to the trail.

Gracie Point the high point on Yakima Skyline ridge trail.
Gracie Point the high point on Yakima Skyline ridge trail.
Views from Gracie Point.
Views from Gracie Point.
Views from Gracie Point.
Views from Gracie Point.
Views from Gracie Point.
Views from Gracie Point.
Pano 1 from Gracie point.
Pano 1 from Gracie point.
Pano 2 from Gracie point.
Pano 2 from Gracie point.
Pano 3 from Gracie point.
Pano 3 from Gracie point.
More views from Gracie point area.
More views from Gracie point area.
More views from Gracie point area.
More views from Gracie point area.
More views from Gracie point area.
More views from Gracie point area.
More views from Gracie point area.
More views from Gracie point area.

I started down cross country to the south east in search of the main trail. I crossed an old road, or more like old tire tracks but the trail is a bit further down.

Animal droppings in Gracie point area as I start down a more cross country path down to main trail.
Animal droppings in Gracie point area as I start down a more cross country path down to main trail.

I found a spot about where I rejoined the main trail that seemed out of the wind so had a quick bite of lunch before heading back down.

Views from my lunch spot a little below Gracie point back on the main trail.
Views from my lunch spot a little below Gracie point back on the main trail.
Views from my lunch spot a little below Gracie point back on the main trail.
Views from my lunch spot a little below Gracie point back on the main trail.
Pano from my lunch spot below Gracie point.
Pano from my lunch spot below Gracie point.
Views from my lunch spot a little below Gracie point back on the main trail.
Views from my lunch spot a little below Gracie point back on the main trail.

As I resumed I soon saw a couple of other hikes heading up.

More flowers on Yakima Skyline trail.
More flowers on Yakima Skyline trail.
First people seen all day. I would see 3 other parties later on the descent.
First people seen all day. I would see 3 other parties later on the descent.

Back at the horse drink bar this water didn't look too inviting.


Twin Springs horse drink. Doesn't look too appetizing.
Twin Springs horse drink. Doesn't look too appetizing.
Back to Twin Springs horse water area.
Back to Twin Springs horse water area.
Heading down Yakima Skyline trail. Looking up to hikers I passed.
Heading down Yakima Skyline trail. Looking up to hikers I passed.

I continued down and saw a few more couples hiking up. A few shots on the way back.


Flowers on Yakima Skyline trail.
Flowers on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views heading down Yakima Skyline trail.
Views heading down Yakima Skyline trail.
Views heading down Yakima Skyline trail.
Views heading down Yakima Skyline trail.
Roza dam zoom from Yakima Skyline trail.
Roza dam zoom from Yakima Skyline trail.
Roza dam from Yakima Skyline trail.
Roza dam from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail towards 1st summit.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail towards 1st summit.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.

Tried to get a picture of a butterfly but he wasn't cooperating too well.

Butterfly attempt on Yakima Skyline trail.
Butterfly attempt on Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
My car again from Yakima Skyline trail.
My car again from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Views from Yakima Skyline trail.
Home stretch back to car on Yakima Skyline trail.
Home stretch back to car on Yakima Skyline trail.

Was glad to arrive and see the car in tact. No other cars were there so I wonder where the other 3 parties or so started hiking from?

Car still intact at Yakima Skyline trailhead.
Car still intact at Yakima Skyline trailhead.

This was a 4 hour and 13 minute car to car trip. About 4.75 miles of wandering to Gracie Point with 2400 feet of elevation gain but also about 500 feet of loss as you go up and down ridge.

The drive though averaged 3 hours or so each way including stops. No rattlesnakes, no mammals. Only a few beetles, birds and butterflies.

First time hiking in the desert. What a different experience. The weather temps were perfect for this with the breeze. No sweating problem and never too hot or cold the way I was dressed.  I don't think this would be real fun in 100 degree + heat!

As I traveled back to the pass of course  the crap sandwich weather started. Snow flurries, 39 degrees and rain on the other side as I drove home.

While I want to do more hikes like this but with the gas prices it won't be as often as I would like. At least as long as the unemployment continues I will be forced to stay closer to home more often than not.

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tigermn
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 9240 | TRs
Location: There...
tigermn
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PostThu Mar 22, 2012 5:41 pm 
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Any one in the know when might be the best time this year to do this hike?

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