Cleman Mountain by Naches River via Waterworks Canyon Trail / 克萊曼山

  • Reading time:7 mins read

Cleman Mountain by Naches River had no one around! Things had progressed so fast since we saw people out and about on Tiger Mountain last weekend. Then terms like social isolation and self-quarantine started showing up on social media.

Cleman Mountain summit up ahead
Cleman Mountain summit up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Rattler Benchmark at a Glance

Access: Waterworks Canyon Trailhead
Round Trip: 15 miles
Elevation Range: 1650′-5115′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Starting from Waterworks Canyon

The last time we came, we were near Waterworks Canyon. Several options to Cleman Mountain include Wenas Valley to the north or the south route through Sanford Canyon. But we started from Waterworks Canyon.

As soon as we entered the gate, we went right up the steep slopes to the left. It eased up past Point 2090 but soon steepened again at 2800′. Then we moved to the southwest ridge to avoid the loose rocks before slowly going up to 3500′.

A path to follow
A path to follow

See more trip photos here.

Going up the Ridgeline

Once on the ridgetop, the route became more apparent. There we followed a faint path through the mild, rocky terrain with the view of Yakima Valley on the east. But we’d sometimes move to the east of the crest to avoid the wind.

So far, the landscape was mainly of Oak Creek Wildlife Area and Tieton River Valley over Naches. As we went higher, the nearby canyons began taking shape. Then from the main ridgeline at 4900′, we saw views of distant peaks.

Yakima Valley
Yakima Valley

See more trip photos here.

Ridge Walk to Cleman Mountain

Walking the ridge took longer than I had expected–four miles, to be exact! Also, the crest wasn’t as flat as I had thought, but more of a rolling hill. We had endless views of Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Stuart Range during this.

The closer we were to the radio tower, the more snow and denser vegetation we found. Then half a mile before the top, I noticed tire tracks with more snow. So we hugged the rim and finished the last bit of the walk.

Cleman Mountain at the other end
Cleman Mountain at the other end

See more trip photos here.

Cleman Mountain Summit Views

It’s been windy all morning. So despite the warm temperatures, I wore my jacket for the entire trip. Then we stayed below the crest on the north side of the radio towers with less wind. There were fences to keep out visitors.

I had read that one can drive up to the broad summit in a high-clearance vehicle. It would’ve been more enjoyable to come here by car with the long road walk. We stayed for an hour and then left for the 7.5-mile hike back to the car.

The east rim of Cleman Mountain
The east rim of Cleman Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The undulating terrain wasn’t feasible to take shortcuts. So we hiked back to the other end of the ridgeline as it started to drop. Then we went onto the south-trending ridge and down the mountain.

We had sightings of the Bighorn Sheep, as a few herds saw us when on our way up. Their color blended into the landscape, so the puppy didn’t even see them until they moved. Then we saw many of them hopping from one canyon to the next on our way back.

Moving on out
Moving on out

See more trip photos here.

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