I recently visited Umtanum Canyon and ridge again. Last October I hiked the canyon and climbed up to Manastash Ridge for a loop. This time I went up Umtanum Ridge and did a big loop on the south side of the canyon. I really enjoy the wide open spaces in the Umtanum area and come here often when trails are too wet or snowy for my taste on the west side of the Cascade mountains.
I wasn't planning on doing as big of a loop as I did since there is a sign at the beginning of the hike that says the canyon is closed 3.25 miles ahead February through July to protect sensitive wildlife. Well I hiked quite a ways up into the canyon and didn't see any "do not proceed any further" type of signs so hopefully I was OK, but looking at the GPX file, it looks like I may have gone further than I should have. Not that it would have mattered I guess as someone, or several people I should say, were blasting their guns all day long in the area. Not sure why they think that keeping people out of an area to protect a habitat while others are blasting their guns all day long protects habitat. I guess the sensitive wildlife is immune to all that noise? I'm not against guns or people's right to shoot, just curious what is behind these strange wildlife regulations.
I was surprised how close I got to the Durr Road this time around. The Durr Rd was built in the late 1800s and connected Ellensburg with Yakima. From The Ellensburg side, Durr Rd crosses over Manastash Ridge before dropping down into the canyon just to climb out again on the other side going up Umtanum Ridge.
At some time, I would like to hike the whole canyon from the Yakima River, all the way to Umtanum Falls. I would probably do this as a backpack in the fall. There is a nice little spot right near the falls where a person could camp. Getting through some of the brushy areas might pose a problem, but it certainly seems doable.
This map represents all the places around Umtanum I have hiked.