Yakima Skyline Ridge VIII / 雅基馬天際線脊之八

The rainfall outlook in the mountains was high. So once again, we followed the sunshine east to Yakima Skyline Ridge. We spent New Year’s Eve here six years ago as well. And it continued to be my go-to place during the rainy season. I also consider the ridge to be the most scenic part of the river canyon.

Gracie Point on Yakima Skyline Ridge
Gracie Point on Yakima Skyline Ridge

See more trip photos here.

Yakima Skyline Ridge at a Glance

Access: Yakima Skyline/Rim Trailhead
Round Trip: 10.4 miles
Elevation Range: 1300′-3240′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

End of Drivable Road to the Trailhead

This trip was our second time going up from the rim. So once again, I parked at the gated Buffalo Road at just over two miles from the main turnoff. We first squeezed through the side gate. Then we proceeded to hike under a mile to the trailhead. I wondered if the locks only stay on during the off-peak season.

The sun came out before we got to the trailhead. Hurray! We then hiked east while going slightly uphill. Before long, we came to the base of the rim. There we got the full view of Selah Butte. Although still low in elevation, we were high enough to see the broad Yakima Valley to the south. Clouds began to gather near the horizon.

Blue sky over Yakima Skyline Ridge
Blue sky over Yakima Skyline Ridge

See more trip photos here.

Yakima Skyline South

Halfway up the rim, I saw another hiker and a pup below us. It looked like we’d have company. We continued to follow the trail and climbed steadily up toward Yakima Skyline South. It soon became windy as we approached the high point. So we avoided the southwest wind by dropping down onto the east slopes.

Quickly, clouds spread across the blue sky. Then it was sun no more. I couldn’t tell if it was ever was going to rain by the look of the clouds. So we took a layer break below the peak to prepare for the windy ridge walk. I looked up and then saw the cloud-shrouding Gracie Point two miles ahead. In other words, no views today!

East panoramic view before the rain
East panoramic view before the rain

See more trip photos here.

Gracie Point

My favorite part of the ridgeline stretched from Yakima Skyline South to Gracie Point. Mainly because of the dramatic landscape and the ever-changing river canyon view at every turn. The wind stayed persistent. So we dropped onto the east slopes whenever possible. It then began to drizzle at the halfway point.

In the past, we had gone up to Gracie Point from the southern slopes. But with the wind and the rain today, we went around on the east instead. The summit was gusty with poor views. Though, I could see the sunlit Yakima Valley through the slow-moving mist. We went down onto the leeward side of the ridge soon afterward.

East panoramic view after the rain
East panoramic view after the rain

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The rain stopped after an hour. But slow-moving clouds remained in the valley. We stayed and enjoyed views from Umtanum Ridge to Selah Butte. On the way back to the south rim, we stopped above Roza Dam. Just then, it started to drizzle. Then the sun broke through the clouds and formed a semi-circle rainbow above the canyon.

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