Sentinel Mountain on Saddle Mountains / 馬鞍山脈中的哨兵山

Sentinel Mountain high point
Sentinel Mountain high point

See more trip photos here.

It was another weekend of heavy rain. Precipitation rate was equal throughout the western state. So naturally, we headed east in search of the sun. In contrast to the cloudy weather on the last trip, today we had nothing but blue sky. In other news, only 20 more posts to add to keep the blog up-to-date.

The Lowdown on Sentinel Mountain

Access: Road R Southwest
Round Trip: 4 miles
Elevation Range: 2160′-2405′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Drive to Sentinel Mountain

It was drizzling when we left in the early hours. Despite the snowy forecast over Snoqualmie Pass, it ended up being just cloudy. There were some slush and ice on the road. Then the gloomy weather turned full-on sunny as we drove past the wind turbines.

I had forgotten to research the western approach for this trip. In other words, we would start hiking somewhere near the dunes. They’re just to the south of the Community of Beverly. But once again, we took the long way via the City of Mattawa. It’s a seven-mile, gravely drive from the main road.

Looking back
Looking back

See more trip photos here.

En Route to the Ridgetop

Shortly passing Mattawa heading east, we left the pavement. Very soon, we came upon the fork in the road after crossing the irrigation duct. Without the sign by the junction, it’s tempting to take the nicely groomed path to the right. But as I found out the hard way the first time here, it eventually led to a farmhouse.

A gorgeous day like today meant that dirt bikes would be inundating the area. The initial elevation gain through the lower canyons was gradual. Then it became steep after we drove past groups of RVs. I took a wrong turn halfway up and went farther west. But we ended up meeting the standard route just below the ridge. Whew!

Sentinel Mountain radio towers
Sentinel Mountain radio towers

See more trip photos here.

Road Walk to the Sentinel Mountain High Point

Getting up to the ridge wasn’t an issue when it’s snow-free. But when snow is present, the roads then become muddy. But we’ve been able to drive up to the top on all of the trips. We hiked east toward the radio towers on gentle terrain. But we’d periodically sidestep on the steep north slopes to avoid wind gusts.

While taking a break by the radio facility, a group of bikers rode up to the top. So I chatted with them for a while. The pups got their first photo op of the year. Shortly afterward, we walked down the gentle east ridge. I continued to envy people living in the lone house above the cliffs. What a life!

Rural life
Rural life

See more trip photos here.

Back to the West Side

Unfortunately, we couldn’t walk very far east before stopping at the gate. The “no trespassing” signs indicated private property on the other side. So we hiked south for a bit until we reached one of the many dirt roads. From there, we then made our way back up to the radio towers.

Another group of bikers showed up shortly. I chatted briefly with a couple of them. Then we went back down north slopes to be out of the wind. There we took our usual summit break as I took photos of the dramatic landscape. Then we started to hike back past the car to the other side of the ridge.

More radio towers
More radio towers

See more trip photos here.

West View Plus Outro

This side of the ridgeline provided a different view of the area. Not only we got a closer look at the Columbia River. But the rest of the Saddle Mountains on the other side of the water also looked within reach. I looked down at the west ridge and saw several dirt roads. So I knew it’s entirely possible to come up that way.

As the day slowly came to an end, the number of dirt bikers had dwindled. But a few of them were still out getting their riding fix. It was another 45 minutes until sunset.

West-northwest panoramic view
West-northwest panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

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