Rattlesnake Dance Ridge + Manastash Ridge West Summit / 響尾蛇舞脊

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Rattlesnake Dance Ridge and Manastash Ridge West Summit perch over Yakima River Canyon. The former sits north of the water from Beaver Tail. Moreover, Umtanum Ridge spans the south, harboring Baldy and Umtanum Point.

Manastash Ridge West Summit up ahead
Manastash Ridge West Summit

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

The Preface

The weather didn’t look favorable in the Olympics or upper Puget Sound. So we took to the east and found solitude on Rattlesnake Dance Ridge. We also visited Manastash Ridge West Summit for more exercise.

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’d be another popular local spot like Baldy and Yakima Skyline Ridge.

Rattlesnake Dance Ridge overhead
Rattlesnake Dance Ridge overhead

See more trip photos here.

Rattlesnake Dance Ridge South Route

I drove by the trailhead this morning, and there were no cars yet. But knowing people would soon arrive, I didn’t want to defeat the goal of social distancing. So I continued 1.5 miles south and parked off the side of the highway.

Despite not having a trail, the steep south route offered much-needed solitude. We first went into the small canyon south of the high point before moving west onto a minor rib. From there, we headed straight up north.

Rattlesnake Dance Ridge north view
Rattlesnake Dance Ridge north view

See more trip photos here.

Manastash Ridgetop

The high clouds offered not-so-terrible views. But the higher we went, the more open the terrain on the relatively short climb. Before long, we were by the large cairn marking the summit of Rattlesnake Dance Ridge.

We were one mile from the car, and it was barely enough exercise for the day. Since I also planned to go to Manastash Ridge West Summit, we stayed briefly. Soon, we continued east on the ridgeline for the peak 2.5 miles away.

Above the fruited plains
Above the fruited plains

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Manastash Ridge West

The rocky road hugged the south of the barbed wire fence. Then the path went north of the border in half a mile, but we took the trail on this side. Three grazing cows saw us when we crossed to the north at the next fork and quickly ran off.

Soon, I saw the radio towers with vast terrain on either side. To the north was Kittitas Valley, and the velvety, wavy hills spilled over the river canyon on the south. But the scenery stayed the same throughout until the towers.

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

See more trip photos here.

Exiting via Rattlesnake Dance Ridge

The wind gusts forced us to spend most of our time behind one of the sheds. Distant views were a bit hazy with rain over the Cascades. The familiar peaks in the canyons were Baldy, Selah Butte, and Yakima Skyline Ridge.

The same three cows returned to the fork at some point. But this time, they gazed as we walked across the field. Rather than returning through Rattlesnake Dance Ridge, we shortcutted straight south to avoid people.

On the way home, we drove past the trailhead, now lined with cars.

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

See more trip photos here.

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