Ryegrass Mountain by Sentinel Mountain via Columbia River / 黑麥草山

  • Reading time:6 mins read

Ryegrass Mountain by Sentinel Mountain is the fourth highest peak in Saddle Mountains after Wahatis Peak. To the east lies the vast geologic preserve of Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. Then at the eastern foothills flows Columbia River, the fourth-largest in the US by volume.

Ryegrass Mountain in the mist
Ryegrass Mountain in the mist

See more trip photos here.

Ryegrass Mountain at a Glance

Access: Huntzinger Road
Round Trip: 5,2 miles
Elevation Range: 2500′-4224′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface

The pup and I visited Mount Finlayson of San Juan Island last week. Then today, we came to the east to Ryegrass Mountain. Over the years, we’ve covered a good amount of the desert, and it’s become more challenging to find someplace new.

This morning, snow and ice over Snoqualmie Pass called for traction tires. But it looked more promising east of the Cascade crest. Later, clouds moved in and caused low visibility as we drove through Ellensburg.

See more trip photos here.

Ryegrass Mountain by Vantage, Washington

The community of Vantage is west of the Vantage Bridge and north of I-90. Not sure how its name became synonymous with the climbing area in Frenchman Coulee. But the two places are nowhere near each other.

The top of Ryegrass Mountain sits inside Yakima Training Center. But the bulk of the hike takes place in Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. So after exiting the freeway, we went south on Huntzinger Road.

A cloudy start
A cloudy start

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The East Route

I thought we’d see some sun here, but the low clouds had indicated otherwise. At under a mile from the exit, I parked past the small gravel pit east of the road. Then we started walking in the mist through flat terrain.

Several unnamed dirt paths took us west on a gradual incline. Later we came upon the main road past 1600′ and hiked for a while. Then an unlocked gate showed up, marking the Yakima Training Center boundary.

Columbia River at last
Columbia River at last

See more trip photos here.

Ryegrass Mountain Summit Plus Outro

There wasn’t much to see in the mist, so we stayed long enough for our selfies. Clouds later shifted a bit when we went back to the foothills. So we had glimpses of the Columbia River and Vantage Bridge.

Conditions over the mountain pass had improved since this morning. WSDOT had also cleared several spin-outs long before we drove back through the crest. Glad that we didn’t have to deal with any traffic delays.

Thanks for another cloudy day
Thanks for another cloudy day

See more trip photos here.

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