Rattlesnake Hills Lookout / 響尾蛇山丘瞭望處

The mountain weather was questionable. So we drove out to Eastern Washington after yesterday’s outing. The initial plan was to explore Hog Ranch Buttes. But the military training was underway today. Visitors usually need to undergo a background check. So next time, I’ll have to call before making the long drive. Rattlesnake Hills Lookout, off we went!

Rattlesnake Hills Lookout is calling
Rattlesnake Hills Lookout is calling

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Rattlesnake Hills Lookout at a Glance

Access: State Route 241
Round Trip: 11 miles
Elevation Range: 2040′-3629′

Gear:
none

GPS track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Driving to Rattlesnake Hills Lookout

I didn’t have a backup plan. So I looked through a list of nearby places we hadn’t visited. The next closest spot was Rattlesnake Hills Lookout. But a few reports mentioned having to go through private property. Gee. What must a man and his dog do to have some fun?!

Rattlesnake Hills is the highest point in Benson County. It spanned the area much more extensively than I had thought. The west end starts in Union Gap. Then it extends eastward to the west of one of the handful Rattlesnake Mountains in the state. We were not far from the Tri-Cities.

Today's crew on Baldy
An uphill battle

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Hiking to Rattlesnake Hills Lookout

We parked directly west of the lookout just off SR 241. After crossing the quiet highway, we then went through the first gate. The second gate was only a few hundred yards ahead. So we passed it and started to hike southbound. Judging from the map, we were in for a long road walk to the top.

The views behind us to the west appeared soon after we started hiking. At the next road bend, we were back to walking eastbound. And we moved in that direction for the rest of the trip. Somehow, I didn’t think many people would make their way out here at this time of the year.

I walk these streets alone
I walk these streets alone

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Walking the Ridgeline

The sky was overcast in the beginning. But the sunshine periodically seeped through the clouds as we hiked toward the ridgetop. Soon, the sunlight brought this sad-looking place back to life. We continued to enjoy the smell of sagebrush throughout.

It became much windier when we got to the ridgetop. But the bare ridge couldn’t shield us from the wind gusts. So the sun provided the much-needed solace. From the first set of radio towers, it looked like we still had a ways to go. Glad I had brought my windproof jacket for the trip.

Radio towers before Rattlesnake Hills Lookout
Radio towers before Rattlesnake Hills Lookout

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Rattlesnake Hills Lookout Sunshine

When we finally reached the high point, the wind was howling. And it was blowing in all directions. So hiding behind the buildings didn’t help us one bit. But instead, we went down onto the north slopes and stayed put. We hung around there the entire time while enjoying views of the north.

Too bad, it was hazy out in the distance. So I couldn’t tell one hill to another. I had hoped to see White Bluffs from here. Though, I knew I must have glanced at the Handford Reach area but didn’t realize it. Had this trip not worked out, the south slope of the White Bluffs was also my backup plan.

White Bluffs in a haze
White Bluffs in a haze

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Outro

We enjoyed an extended stay. I played with the camera while the pup had a wonderful time rolling in the grass. Despite the wind, on the walk back, we made several stops to check out the southern landscape. The afternoon sunshine through the haze added more colors to the otherwise dull scenery.

The grand Mount Rainier was under thick clouds on the horizon.

Clouds capping Mount Rainier
Clouds capping Mount Rainier

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