Forum Index > Trail Talk > How's this itinerary look?  Part two!  ONP to Ellensburg
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potnia_theron
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PostSun May 12, 2019 7:53 am 
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You guys have been really helpful with the ONP itinerary, so i'm hoping you can take a look at the second half of the trip.

May 24th: Drive from Kalaloch to Ashford.  Depending on the snow and drive time, maybe checkout Glacier View Trail.  Good outcrop of the Round Pass Mudflow near here that I want to see too.

May 25th: Drive up to Paradise, maybe try hiking a little ways along the skyline until we start postholing, head down stevens canyon to the grove of the patriarchs, then drive to Yakima for the night.

May 26th: Drive up I-82 (there's a road cut with petrified wood i want to check out), then maybe up to Lion Rock north of Ellensburg.  Either camp there for the night, or if its still early, drive east towards Trinidad and camp near Ancient Lake.

May 27th: ?

May 28th: ?

May 29th: depart seatac in the afternoon

Not sure where to stick those last couple days.  If SR410 is open, maybe loop back through the north side of Rainier?  I'm really interested in the geology of Rainier, so there are some spots over there i'd enjoy checking out.  I'd also like to get out near Trinidad to see the Columbia gorge and the giant current ripples.  Any suggestions?  Cool hikes?  Maybe just more days in ONP as Anne suggested in the last thread?  I think getting up to Mt. Baker isn't realistic with just those last 2 days.

We don't mind driving a lot, it's all new scenery for us, so not worried about 3-4hr days as long as its punctuated by neat stops/hikes.  It's light til 9pm or so, so that helps.  It's actually good, because it gives us (and the kids) a place to rest before the next adventure.  We did a similar trip a couple years ago, with about as much driving, and it worked out really well.
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Sculpin
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PostSun May 12, 2019 11:50 am 
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You need two itineraries.

If it is typical weather for the last week of May, it will be too hot in the eastern lowlands, so you should stay around Mt. Rainier and do waterfalls and geology.

If it is cold and crappy on the west side, head to Ancient Lakes and up Grand Coulee.

Coolest Scablands in the State:  Drive to Soap Lake and north up Grand Coulee to Lake Lenore.  About a third of the way up the lake going north, turn off on a small, unmarked dirt road on the right.  There are no other roads around on that side.  Go east a few hundred yards and park, then walk the road north to a gate (limited parking and turn-around).  Past the gate continue on the road into a coulee that parallels the one with the big lakes.  In a half mile or so, head up into the hills to the west, between your coulee and the highway.  The weirdest formations are found here.  Imagine the effect that turbulence whirlpools hundreds of feet deep could have on bedrock.  Then see it.

The Lake Lenore "caves" a bit farther north are pretty cool too.  So is the entire Dry Falls/Sun Lakes area.

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Even my best friends, they don't know, that my job is turning lead into gold. When you hear that engine drone, I'm on the road again, and I'm searching for the philosopher's stone - Van Morrison
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSun May 12, 2019 12:05 pm 
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There's lots of good stuff near Ellensburg but your itinerary has you heading east from there.  A bit northwest of E-burg is the Teanaway, a lovely area that tends to melt out earlier than many other areas so provides some good early season hiking options.  Also nearby is Leavenworth, a cool Bavarian themed town.  Wenatchee River and Lake Wenatchee, Icicle  Creek and all kinds of hiking in that vicinity.  Leavenworth can be crowded on weekends any time of year, but by late May it's really picking up heading into summer season.  You could return to Seattle via Hwy 2, but I would say you do not want to make that drive on a Sunday, when there are hordes of other drivers returning to the Westside after weekend adventures.  Mostly 2 lane 2 way road w/ several small towns you pass thru w/ speed zones.  It can get hellaciously backed up.
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MtnGoat
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PostTue May 14, 2019 8:19 am 
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Agree. The only folks who use Hwy 2 westbound on a Sunday now are those for whom it is basically the only sane route back in spite of the fustercluck it has become and who must be home by Sunday night, whenever it winds up being. Everyone else goes a different way, or leaves well before noon, or waits till Monday morning.

I was already avoiding the route 20 years ago when I left pugetopolis, I can hardly imagine how bad it is now. I look at the traffic maps now and then for a laugh, though. Any given summer weekend now sees Sunday backups as bad or worse than you used to see only on holiday weekends.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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markweth
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PostTue May 14, 2019 9:09 am 
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If you're into geology, I'd suggest making the trip to Palouse Falls when you're in the Yakima/Ellensburg area. It's an absolutely stunning waterfall and well worth going out of your way to see.
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Sculpin
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PostTue May 14, 2019 9:14 am 
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MtnGoat wrote:
The only folks who use Hwy 2 westbound on a Sunday now

Right, to parapharase Yogi Berra, nobody goes that way, its too crowded.   wink.gif

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Even my best friends, they don't know, that my job is turning lead into gold. When you hear that engine drone, I'm on the road again, and I'm searching for the philosopher's stone - Van Morrison
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RandyHiker
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PostTue May 14, 2019 10:11 am 
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Double check the status of the Steven's Canyon road here:

https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/road-status.htm

Currently they are guessing it will open on the 24th -- but many things could delay the opening.   You might have to backtrack to Longmire and drive the Skate Creek road to Packwood and go over White Pass (which is nice as well)

Westbound US 2 on a Sunday afternoon (or on Memorial day the 27th ) will often be bumper to bumper stop and go from Zeke's (gold bar) to Monroe.  So this stretch will take an extra hour or two instead of the half hour it may be traveled early in the morning.  if you are racing to catch a flight this would be stressful.

Your travel plans are over Memorial Day weekend -- expect there to be a ton of people out camping -- and it my 5 decades of PNW camping experience is any guide -- it will also be raining.  -- What do you think this Pemco ad is based on eh?


Also the Yakima canyon road (HYW-821) is nicer IMHO than I-82 between Yakima and Ellensburg.  There are also some nice hikes along the way e.g. https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/umtanum-creek-canyon
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Hiker Mama
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PostTue May 14, 2019 11:38 pm 
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While you're around Ellensburg, there are two places you must visit. The Ginko Petrified Forest State Park, with its small but interesting visitor center, and trails to see petrified logs in situ. You'll need the state Discover Pass. https://parks.state.wa.us/288/Ginkgo-Petrified-Forest



Between there and Ellensburg, on the Old Vantage Highway, is the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility. It has a great free visitor center and you can walk around a bit. My kids love going there. Interesting flowers and stuff. https://www.pse.com/pages/tours-and-recreation/wild-horse

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My hiking w/ kids site: www.thehikermama.com
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