Trip Report    

Road Trip & Hikes - Umtanum Ridge Vista Trail+

“Someday we’ll have to do that”. You know, those short trips you’d like to do yet never seem to find the time for. The shoulder season is the perfect time, especially when you can align multiple ‘someday’ trips with brief good weather windows.

  • Mon, Apr 10, 2023 — Tue, Apr 11, 2023
  • Umtanum Ridge
  • Day Hiking
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Gorgeous weather (at least when it counted ;), no crowds (at least where it mattered ;), minimal hazards (little traffic congestion, no ice storms, no floods, no rattle snakes, nor brush fires).

Recent tempestuous weather had complicated a short vacation.  Off season accommodations in Hood River were very reasonable, but how to manage the intermittent bad weather?  The answer is a two day loop road trip, with the ability to reverse the direction at the last minute (clockwise versus counter clockwise) to accommodate weather twists and turns (the hotel/campsite doesn’t care which direction you came from ;).

In our case bad weather was the first day, which suggested a scenic drive to Hood River via I-5 and the Columbia River Gorge.  This included short hikes/walks along the way to stretch our legs at…

Mima Mounds



… and Multnomah Falls:



Our second day dawned gorgeous (Hood River IS after all east of the crest) and we enjoyed stunning views/vistas on our way over Satus Pass to the Yakima River Canyon (you know, the ‘someday’ canyon you skip when driving to Yakima via I-82 ;).  The Umtanum Creek Vista Trail is a great way to experience this canyon in a relatively short amount of time.  It includes a storied suspension footbridge plus sweeping views of the surrounding area from Umtanum Ridge (no extra charge for the ~2000’ of elevation gain ;)…



Initially with some tempestuous weather (high winds plus intermittent graupel snowfall that did not stick), by the time we approached the cars it was back to warm/sunny shirt sleeve weather:



Our thoughts kept returning to all we’d seen on the drive back to Seattle (via Ellensburg), and with a few more days future trips could be even better with visits to Larch Mountain, Dog Mountain, the Maryhill Museum of Art, or the Goldendale Observatory State Park.