Route: Yakima Skyline/Rim Trail To Gracie Point
Distance: Around 9.5 Miles
I was born and raised on the west side of Washington State. I’m used to trees, mountains, rain and a lack of things that slither and try to bite me. However, I also like to experience new things, so while visiting my in-laws over the 3 day weekend I went out for a day hike into the desert outside of Selah, WA on the Yakima Skyline/Rim Trail.
I had asked on the Washington Hikers and Climbers Facebook group if anyone knew of any hikes in the area and the Yakima Skyline/Rim Trail was suggested.
Over the next few days, everyone I talked to who lives or grew up in Eastern Washington basically informed me I would be eaten by every rattlesnake on that side of the mountain and gave me tips on safe desert hiking (Plenty of water, make noise, throw rocks ahead into grassy areas). I took this information and found myself at the entrance to the area around 7:30 am.
The trail is part of the L. T. Murray State Wildlife Recreation Area (Discover Pass Required). The parking lot is right off the road and the recreation area is blocked by a gate.
You have the choice of either parking at the parking lot and walking to the trail or going through the gate and driving closer to the trailhead 1.5 miles up a dirt road. The road is in really rough shape so most people either park a half mile from the gate or just hike up the road from the parking lot to the official trailhead.
I didn’t want to road walk to the trailhead at the start of my hike so I left the parking lot and started working my way through the desert towards the ridge.
After a couple of miles I met up with the actual trail and followed it the rest of the way up to the ridge and was able to see the Yakima River below and the Roza Dam.
The trail continued along the ridge and I eventually came upon a horse watering spring. I would not recommend this as a water source. 🙂
After the watering hole the trail started gaining elevation and eventually came to a fork in the trail. If I would of followed the trail it would of continued along the rim for many more miles.
I decided to head up the side trail to Gracie Point, which is one of the highest, if not the highest point on the trail.
After climbing up the side trail I reached Gracie Point and was treated with views of Selah, Yakima, Mount Adams and the Stuart Range.
After taking a few minute break I headed off Gracie Point and headed back to the car stopping along the way to look at wildflowers and watch butterflies.
It was a great day, and the only critter I saw was a Bullsnake. A Bullsnake looks like a rattlesnake but does not have a rattle and is not venomous. It was really neat to see, but it reminded me I was not in Western Washington anymore…
I highly recommend this trail if you find yourself in the Yakima Area! Just remember to bring a ton of water, even if it is not hot, it is very dry and I drank 2 liters of water while on this hike.