Rattlesnake Dance Ridge / 響尾蛇舞脊

The weather didn’t look good in the Olympics. The upper Puget Sound also seemed wet. So we took to the east and found solitude on Rattlesnake Dance Ridge. We also went up to Manastash Ridge West Summit to extend the hiking distance.

Manastash Ridge West Summit up ahead
Manastash Ridge West Summit up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Rattlesnake Dance Ridge at a Glance

Access: WA-821
Round Trip: 7.1 miles
Elevation Range: 1400′-3219′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Rattlesnake Dance Ridge

Yakima River Canyon is a beautiful area. I remember driving past the pullout parking last month and seeing a dozen cars there. So I knew it was another popular hiking spot next to Baldy and Yakima Skyline Ridge.

This morning, I drove past the trailhead, and there were no cars yet. But knowing people would show up later, I didn’t want to defeat the goal of social distancing. So I drove another mile and a half down the road. Then I pulled off to the side of the highway.

Rattlesnake Dance Ridge up ahead
Rattlesnake Dance Ridge up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Rattlesnake Dance Ridge South Route

This route wasn’t as mild as the northwest ridge. But I knew we wouldn’t see anyone here. So first, we went into the small canyon south of the high point. Then we moved west a bit to be on the minor rib. From there, we made our way up north.

The day was cloudy. But the clouds were high, so the views weren’t terrible. Then the higher we went, the more open the landscape. The climb was relatively short. So before long, we were up by the large cairn marking the top of Rattlesnake Dance Ridge.

Rattlesnake Dance Ridge north view
Rattlesnake Dance Ridge north view

See more trip photos here.

Manastash Ridgetop

We were now just one mile from the car. So that was barely aerobically effective. Since I had also planned to go up to Manastash Ridge West Summit, we didn’t stay long here. The high point was just another 2.5 miles away. So we continued east on the ridgeline.

The rocky roadbed hugged along the south of the barbed wire fence. Then in half a mile, the main roadway went to the north of the barrier. But we stayed on the same side on a trail. Then at the road junction, we crossed over to the other side. Three grazing cows noticed us and quickly ran off.

Above the fruited plains
Above the fruited plains

See more trip photos here.

Manastash Ridge West Summit

From the crest, I saw the radio facility as well as the expansive terrain on both sides. To the left was the flat Kittitas Valley. In contrast, to the south were the velvety hills over the river canyon. But the scenery more or less stayed the same throughout. Before long, we were up by the towers.

It was also a windy day. So we spent the bulk of our time behind one of the several sheds by the fence. Distant views were a bit hazy. It also looked rainy toward the Cascades. The nearby high points in the canyons were Baldy, Selah Butte, and Skyline Ridge.

Baldy, Selah Butte, Yakima Skyline Ridge
Baldy, Selah Butte, Yakima Skyline Ridge

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The same three cows were back at the junction. Except for this time, the animals stood still and gazed as we made our way across the field. We didn’t go back through Rattlesnake Dance Ridge. Instead, we took a shortcut and went south. So we could avoid seeing anyone.

On the way home, we drove past the trailhead now with a line of cars.

Panoramic view below Rattlesnake Dance Ridge
Panoramic view below Rattlesnake Dance Ridge

See more trip photos here.

Leave a Reply

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