Backpack - Black Canyon (Umtanum Ridge)


Backpack - Black Canyon (Umtanum Ridge)

An early season backpack through the gorgeous hills between Yakima and Ellensburg. Early season wildflowers, open vistas and a deep canyon paying tribute to Umtanum Ridge. This 7 mile loop will be extended by a mile each way in order to get the best camp spot in a beautiful open field. Expected elevation gain with added miles: about 1800 feet. This trip is open to all qualified Mountaineers but is designed for B3 students who are looking for a bit of a challenge, as we carry all of our water on this trip!

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 9.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,400 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 3,850 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2mph

Tibbetts Park & Ride in Issaquah - Meet at uncovered part of lot at 7:30 am

Google Maps Directions link:,-122.3927705/tibbetts+park+and+ride/@47.5904407,-122.3671102,11z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m9!4m8!1m1!4e1!1m5!1m1!1s0x54906f73db399293:0x5f5836a2c48e826e!2m2!1d-122.0621444!2d47.5405856

Because we cannot park overnight at the P&R, carpool arrangements will need to be made between participants prior to meeting on Saturday morning. High clearance vehicles are essential. There is room for about 4 cars at the trailhead, and Discover Pass is required. 

Mid May is generally still cool, even in Eastern Washington. Low 50s during the day, and pretty cold at night. But also sunny and gorgeous during Spring time.

It's also very, very windy on the ridge, so bring appropriate layers to accommodate this. In addition, this hike requires we carry all of our water with us, which adds considerable weight to packs. Consider lightweight gear, and prepare to bring plenty of water. With that, this trip requires leader permission, not because it's super strenuous, but it does require extra water weight and desert condition considerations.

Average Water for an overnight trip:

 1 liter for every 5 miles hiked and at least 3 liters for an overnight (generally includes cooking for dinner/breakfast and two hot drinks)

These are conservative amounts. Know what you usually consume, and go from there. Since we will be carrying lots of water, we will go at a reasonable pace!

I have added 2 miles total to this trip because the Forest Service Road conditions, and do get an ideal camp spot.


Black Canyon (Umtanum Ridge)

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports