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Manastash Ridge trail
April 2021


Synopsis
In an attempt to avoid crowds for a relatively pandemic safe hike, we took a weekday to check out the Manastash Ridge trail system right outside of Thorp and Ellensburg. This fairly popular hiking trail is best done on the weekday as it has gotten a lot of attention, perhaps especially since the pandemic hit. While we made the smart decision to hike up to the ridge using the Boy Scout trail, we made the poor decision to hike down the Westburg trail, which is the most popular way to reach the ridge. The Westburg trail may have been somewhat reasonable before the pandemic, but heavy use has turned the trail into a wide dead, dusty swath that is very steep in places. Any trace of switchbacks was completely erased.

Still we enjoyed the hike through predominately antelope brush and open flats of large-head clover, sagebrush violets and Douglas grass widow on top of the ridge. The Boy Scout trail followed a dry creek through sagebrush and Ponderosa Pine. The ridge is popular with horseback riders and mountain bikers - a nice long trail system criss-crosses over the ridge and green dot roads. While we had an enjoyable time and soaked in the songs of Vesper and Brewer's Sparrows and Western Meadowlark, this is a trail we likely won't visit again. Given the damage to the Westburg trail and the lack of diversity, its difficult justifying choosing the Manastash Ridge trail system over the nearby Robinson Canyon, which is much less used and is richer in wildlife and microhabitats.

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Pictures (click on thumbnail)










Bird List
California Quail
Sooty Grouse
Mourning Dove
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Steller's Jay
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
Violet-green Swallow
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Western Bluebird
American Robin
House Finch
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Brewer's Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Western Meadowlark
Red-winged Blackbird
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Critters
Mule deer
Douglas squirrel
Chipmunk
Horned Lizard
Butterflies
Mourning Cloak
Sara's Orangetip
Oreas Anglewing
Blooming flowers
Sagebrush Buttercup
Sagebrush Violet
Daggerpod
Douglas Grass Widow
Gold Star
Lanceleaf Springbeauty
Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Small Bluebell
Lupine
Dwarf Hesperochiron
Large-head Clover

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page updated: 4/24/21