Beaver Tail in Yakima River Canyon / 雅基馬河谷裏的海狸尾

Today we sought out Beaver Tail in the Yakima River Canyon. So we could avoid the rain. But it made for a perfect cool-down hike from Thursday’s trip. The pups and I were just here in April, going up to Rattlesnake Dance Ridge.

Beaver Tail down below
Beaver Tail down below

See more trip photos here.

Beaver Tail at a Glance

Access: Umtanum Creek Recreation Site
Round Trip: 7.7 miles
Elevation Range: 1340′-1924′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Beaver Tail

I’ve seen Bever Tail during many of our outings out here. But I had never thought about visiting it until our recent trip up to Rattlesnake Dance Ridge. The high point had always dominated our view through the canyon. So I decided to do some research.

Sure enough. It turned out that the best way to access Beaver Tail was from Manastash Ridge. Who knew? Though, I’ve always had the image of people going there by boating across the Yakima River.

This way to Beaver Tail
This way to Beaver Tail

See more trip photos here.

Umtanum Creek Recreation Site

We started in the late morning. So by that time, the crux of the trip was going past the Umtanum Canyon crowds. But there were also groups of people accessing the boat launch. So it was quite a busy morning when we arrived!

It took some time to locate the starting of the ridge trail. But it also wasn’t apparent that we would need to cross the Umtanum Creek under the railroad tracks. Though, on the way up, we went over the tracks and stumbled across the path that way.

Looking back
Looking back

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Ridge Walk

The first part of the trail up to the ridge was just half a mile. The path was sometimes steep. But it was the gravel that made the walk up more arduous than needed. Shortly, we were up on the ridgeline just as the landscape behind us slowly took shape.

From there, we then spent the next two miles hiking north on an old roadbed. In comparison to the west, landscape out east was much more enjoyable and expansive. There we had a decent view of Yakima River as it wound through the canyon.

Yakima River bend
Yakima River bend

See more trip photos here.

Beaver Tail Summit

Before the turnoff, I saw three tall cairns by the rim. But not sure if they served any purpose. Shortly, we went down the east ridge from the top of the basalt walls. Then a couple of small cliffs required us to bypass them on the south of the rocky ground. Once we got down to the saddle, we had lost 850′.

From there, it was less than half a mile to reach the top of Beaver Tail. Views on this high point were rather disappointing. Mainly because of the towering Manastash Ridge on the other side of the river. It also blocked the landscape to the east.

Eastern panoramic view with Beaver Tail
Eastern panoramic view with Beaver Tail

See more trip photos here.

Outro

We couldn’t see the river from up here. So we didn’t stay long. Then we went back to the saddle and enjoyed views of the river bends on both sides. I did some research as I wrote this post. Then I discovered that the river was here long before the canyon had formed. How neat!

Later, we climbed back up to the ridgeline. But not before we caught the warning of a rattlesnake by a bush. So we backed up fast and went around it! We reached the railroad in 2.5 miles. But this time, we went under it to go back up to the parking lot.

Back to reality
Back to reality

See more trip photos here.

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