Rattler Benchmark on Umtanum Ridge / 恩達濃脊上的拉特勒基準

Our trips have been alternating between Teanaway and Eastern Washington as of late. So after a viewless outing, the next day, we went right back to dodging the rain in the desert. Rattler Benchmark marks the highest point on Umtanum Ridge.

Rattler Benchmark a mile away
Rattler Benchmark a mile away

See more trip photos here.

Rattler Benchmark at a Glance

Access: Umtanum Road
Round Trip: 7.4 miles
Elevation Range: 2500′-4224′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Umtanum Ridge

After a hundred trips to Eastern Washington, I finally realized the vastness of this ridge. It extends from near Ellensburg Pass to Hanford Reach by the Tri-Cities. Meanwhile, the ridgeline moves through its high point Rattler Benchmark. Then it continues through Yakima River Canyon, Baldy, and the Yakima Training Center.

We had also been to this part of the ridge in the past. Our stopping point wasn’t too far west of Rattler Benchmark. So I remembered that the views weren’t that much different. But back then, we entered from the south via Black Canyon in the Wenas Valley.

Morning sunshine
Morning sunshine

See more trip photos here.

Getting up to the Ridgeline

There wasn’t much to the approach, because we just had to go south to reach the ridgeline. But I opted to take the rib route from the thicket by the parking lot. During which, we crossed the tiny stream of Umtanum Creek.

To start, we could have taken the trail in the adjacent canyon. Though, by staying on the rib, we were able to enjoy the open view. I love the smell of sagebrush. You don’t get that scent in the Cascades. Soon, the sight of Ellensburg slowly surfaced behind us.

Running the ridge
Running the ridge

See more trip photos here.

Ridge Walk to the Top

Like other ridges in Eastern Washington, this one has its fair share of dirt roads. Some are rougher than others. And not all of them give access to the top. Once on the ridgeline, we were overlooking the Lady Bug Canyon on the south side. Rattler Benchmark was only another mile away to the west.

It was windy down on the north slopes. But it became gusty as we dilly-dallied our way through the long-running ridgeline. Soon, we were at the top. But the road continued down the west ridge. There happened to be a small sagebrush bush on top. So we sat behind it to get out of the wind.

Baldy
Baldy

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The only sounds we heard were the howling wind and the remote target shooting. We also spent some time behind the nearby lone tree to enjoy the landscape. After an hour of soaking in the sunshine and hazy views, we started to head back down.

Earlier on the way in at 2800′, we intersected a faint dirt road. So as we exited, we got on the path and then headed west into the small canyon. It would’ve been the standard route if we came in this way. Back on Umtanum Road, we walked a quarter of a mile east to get back to the trailhead.

The Cascades and wind turbines
The Cascades and wind turbines

See more trip photos here.

There are many options for people to add more miles to the trip. So from Rattler Benchmark, hike east toward Wenas Benchmark. Shortly beyond the high point is the Umtanum Ridge (Vista) Trail. Follow the path down to the Umtanum Creek Recreation Site to finish. Total distance car to car: 14.5 miles.

Next PostRead more articles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu