• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2.6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1350 Feet

Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildflowers

Hike up a steep, short, rocky ridge in the heart of the Yakima River Canyon and witness Central Washington in its truest, most beautiful fashion.

Starting at an elevation of 2050 feet and immediately off the gravel parking lot to the side of Canyon Road, begin the uphill charge on the vast, empty Rattlesnake Dance Trail. A few steps in, the tone will be set as to what you are up against.

Although less than a mile and a half in distance, do not be fooled, the trail is not for the faint of heart. It is a continuous uphill battle that, from start to finish, will cover over 1300 feet of elevation gain. It is destined to leave you out of breathe and possibly a little sore in the knees.

The terrain during the fall and spring is often littered with popping colors of the seasonal flowers, a welcoming sight to keep your mind preoccupied. During winter, the ground is frozen and if daring enough to do during the summer months be cautious of snakes.

As you pass the Rattlesnake Dance Trail, follow the used path as it winds and begins to head directly uphill. Pace yourself, as the beginning is tiresome. Catch your breath when need-be and don't forget to turn around and take in audacity of what you have accomplished!

Climbing higher and higher, the town of Ellensburg becomes to be present and the slow-rolling Yakima river bounces around the canyon walls.

Finally, you will notice the buried fence post marking the highest point of the ridge becomes visible. Leave a unique note and witness the notes of others as you relax and take in the views of Central Washington.

Pack List

  • 10 Essentials
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sunscreen (during warmer months)
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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It was a cool, sunny Spring day and there was a light rain the night before to help keep dust down and stabilize loose rocks on the trail. This hike is listed as "intermediate" but for beginning hikers beware, it is more "advanced" due to the steep terrain and loose footing. Hiking poles are a must to help over boulder fields and downhill descent. This is a rocky hike so solid footwear is advised. Two-thirds of the hike is a steep, uphill climb over a rocky trail,we loved it, but if you're just starting out to hiking and exercising, you might want to try a couple easier hikes first to build up your cardio and get familiar with trail footing. Wild flowers are just starting to bloom, the temperature was ideal (~45 degrees) and the views at the top were incredible, especially the Stuart Range. The valley below was lush green due to the recent snow melt off and bugs were minimal. There were only 3 hiking parties so it was nice to have the ridge mostly to ourselves. It is recommended on hotter days to bring lots of water & sunblock since this hike is fully exposed. Be sure to make a restroom stop beforehand, there is no place to take care of business on this hike since it is fully exposed to the road below and hikers above. :) Will Do this hike again - highly recommend!

10 months ago
10 months ago

Awesome hike! But, beware of high winds!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

This was a very enjoyable hike that is not very far detour off of i-90, with often sunnier weather than Seattle. There were already signs of wildflowers springing up at the end of March, and as Randy mentioned it gives great views of the Yakima river and surrounding hills. It is a very steep hike so be sure to wear appropriate footwear so you are not sliding all the way down :) Highly recommended!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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