Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fagin's Hike of the Week: Manastash Ridge Observatory

Updated: April 1, 2014
Just outside of Ellensburg this is a road walk that is gated through the end of April. Enjoy snowfree hike with flowers starting to come out. At top is the observatory (usually closed) with great views to north and south.

View from top - Stuart Range @ Alan Bauer
Sagebrush buttercups starting to come out
Pines with Stuart Range in background
Big herd of Elk @ Dennis Long

Driving directions: From I-90 Exit 109 at Ellensburg, turn right at end of off ramp, and drive 0.5 mile north to the first traffic light. Turn left at traffic light onto Umptanum Road and set your odometer here. Drive out of Ellensburg on this road and stay on it. At 5.0 miles (you’ve left farm land behind and climbed up into Manastash Ridge by now you hit end of pavement onto gravel. At 10.2 miles at a sharp turn in the road you reach the parking lot for Umtanum Creek Falls trail on your left and continue on. Then at 11.4 miles you pass the access for Hanson Pond Road (another good road hike) and continue. Finally, at 15.4 miles, or just a bit more than 5 miles from Umtanum Creek Falls Trail,  and about ½ mile after the road starts descending from Ellensburg Pass area, you come to a "unmarked" road on the right. This is Observatory Road, gated until May 1st each year. Parking for 3-4 signed for and you need a Discovery Pass.

Trail stats: Hike to about 2.4 miles on the main road  then at a junction  veer to the right and go to head to the observatory.  At 4.6 miles you reach the ridge, go right on ridge road and at 4.9 miles you reach the observatory. Gain under 1000 feet with top close to 3900 feet. 


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Disclaimer: There are many factors which you should consider in deciding whether to proceed with an outing, including the visible weather at the trailhead, the strength and experience of the party, snow and avalanche conditions, route conditions, etc. You are the final decision maker whether to proceed. West Coast Weather, LLC dba Washington Online Weather cannot be held liable for loss or injury arising from your decision to proceed, and expressly disclaims all liability related thereto. Redmond, Washington USA. Also, please bring map-compass and GPS to help with trail directions as our directions are our best estimate.

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