Beaver Tail by Rattlesnake Dance Ridge on Manastash Ridge / 海狸尾

  • Reading time:7 mins read

Beaver Tail by Rattlesnake Dance Ridge sits on Manastash Ridge above Yakima River. To the south spans Umtanum Ridge, including Baldy and Umtanum Point 3478. Moreover, Umtanum Creek offers the fastest way to the high point.

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

The Preface on Beaver Tail

I needed a cool-off hike after last Thursday. I’ve seen Beaver Tail during my trips in the canyon, but it didn’t pique my interest until our recent outing nearby. Since it’s the focal point in the canyon, I decided to research it.

Somehow I’ve always thought people needed to boat across the Yakima River to the teardrop-shaped bump. But as it turned out, the shortest way to Beaver Tail was via Manastash Ridge. Who knew?

This way to Beaver Tail
This way to Beaver Tail

See more trip photos here.

Umtanum Creek Recreation Site

It was quite a busy morning when we arrived Since we started late, the crux was going past the Umtanum Canyon crowds at the start. Meanwhile, many groups were trying to access the boat launch.

It took some time to find the ridge trail. It was also unclear that we needed to cross Umtanum Creek under the railroad tracks. But on the way in, we went over the tracks instead before stumbling upon the path.

Looking back
Looking back

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Ridge Walk

The lower trail leading to the ridgetop was only half a mile. It was sometimes steep, but mainly the gravel that made the hiking more arduous. Soon, we reached the ridge as the landscape behind us slowly expanded.

We spent the next two miles hiking north on an old road. We had a decent view of Yakima River as it wound through the canyon. Compared to the west, the landscape out east was much more expansive.

Yakima River bend
Yakima River bend

See more trip photos here.

Beaver Tail Summit

There were tall cairns by the rim before the turnoff, but not sure what they were marking. From the top of the basalt walls, we dropped 850′ to the saddle. A few small cliffs en route required us to bypass from the south.

It was under half a mile to the top of Beaver Tail from there. Views here were disappointing because of the towering Manastash Ridge on the other side of the river. It blocked the eastern landscape.

East panorama with Beaver Tail
East panorama with Beaver Tail

See more trip photos here.

Leaving the Yakima River Canyon

Since we couldn’t see the water, we didn’t stay long. Then we returned to the saddle to see the river bends on both sides. Pretty neat! Through research, I discovered that the river was here long before the canyon took shape.

We startled a rattlesnake by a bush en route back to the ridge. I don’t do well around reptiles, so we jumped back fast and went around it! Back at the railroad in 2.5 miles, we went under the tracks to return to the parking lot.

Back to reality
Back to reality

See more trip photos here.

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