We set off on a sunny Sunday morning in the pursuit of wildflowers. The unusual sunny weather we’ve been enjoying in Seattle had us itching for a glorious spring hike away from the slushy snow that still covers much of the Cascades. We decided to make the long drive east, over the Cascades and into the more arid part of our state. Looking at recent trip reports on the Washington Trails Association website, we saw that wildflowers were beginning to bloom on trails around Yakima. Bobby pulled out his 100 Classic Hikes in Washington guidebook and found the Yakima Skyline Rim hike.
A huge advantage to this hike is that the road takes you to above 3000 feet allowing you to enjoy spectacular views, without doing a lot of the work yourself. Being six months pregnant, this seemed incredibly appealing to me!
The guidebook does warn about the road leading to the trailhead, but things have definitely changed since the book was published in 1998. The book warns of a stream crossing along the road, which now has a bridge, and the road is in incredibly rough shape. It had potholes the size of cars, and the 7.1 mile trip along such a “road” was tiring in and of itself. Bobby did an exceptional job traversing the rough terrain and after more then 30 minutes we had reached the trailhead.
The sun was out in full force and the car temperature gauge read 48 degrees but a breeze put a bite into the air and we donned our jackets as we began the trek. This hike has potential for being a multi day backpacking trip, depending on how far you are interested in going. Our goal was to reach the high point of the trail, that was located at just over two miles in and to then turn around. The trail undulated along the ridge line and we were rewarded with sweeping views of the Stuart Range.
We also caught glimpses of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount St Helens.
Wind farms dotted the horizon and the rural community of Ellensberg was laid out before us in the distance.
Upon reaching the summit of Wenas Peak we rested on a concrete slab. There was lots of debris from old structures and a ridiculous amount of litter and broken glass. We had been letting Latigo roam off leash because we were the only hikers there, but when we saw the rundown state of this particular area we quickly got him on leash so as to prevent any injuries to his paws. We laid in the sun, watching the clouds go by after having a snack of orange slices. The breeze up top was chilly and after some quick pics we were ready to head back to the car, that was oddly still visible from where we were.
We had been disappointed to see that we were a bit early for the wildflowers that are so keenly spoken of in the guidebook and trip reports but we were grateful for a day together in the sun and away from the crowds of the easier hikes located around Seattle. We took a slight detour on our way back and skirted around one small hill, and were greatly pleased to discover a few first wildflowers along the north slope.
We were soon back at the car and ready to brave the long, slow, and bumpy ride out of the recreation area and back to civilization. This trail is mixed use and we did encounter some dirt bikers. They were respectful and informed us how many were in their party. On the drive in we passed several depressing trash pits where people come to practice their shooting. We only wish that they would be more respectful of the land they are using and pick up after themselves. We saw evidence of many wildlife tracks in some sections of the trail that had softer soil but we didn’t see anything personally. We had been under the impression that this area is popular with birds, but again were disappointed and only saw one bird throughout the day on the trail. Overall, a bit of a disappointing hike, we are sure it would’ve been much more incredible had we gone a week or two later when the spring wildflowers were in full bloom but we still had some spectacular views!