A Quick Outdoor Outing in Central Washington

A Quick Outdoor Outing in Central Washington

By Shelby Walker

The weather is getting colder, the days shorter, and sometimes getting outside can seem undoable or like just another thing on a long to-do list. It's easier to make excuses when we have to layer on jackets or it's dark early in the afternoon, however, getting outdoors is an important part of getting through the gloomy winter days or an overwhelming holiday season. Plan a couple outings in Central Washington with these short, easy, and accessible hikes that still offer great views and wildlife sightings.

Coal Mines Trail

Coal Mines Trail is a mellow trek following the Northern Pacific Railroad branch line that takes explorers from Cle Elum through Roslyn and on to Ronald. With views of many different coal mining remains and points of interest along the way, this trail offers a quick outing to enjoy some fresh air and uncover local history as you go! From hiking and biking to horseback riding and snowmobiling, there are plenty of ways to explore through the seasons as well. Set off on this favorite local trail during your next visit to enjoy a glimpse of the old mining activity that was once abundant in our area!

Clara and Marion Lakes

This is an easygoing trail that is dog-friendly and great for kids. A 3.2 mile round trip, there is only a 900 feet change in elevation which makes the trek a breeze. The trail begins from the Mission Ridge Ski Area's parking lot, so it is very easy to access all year long! This casual hike takes you to the two beautiful Clara and Marion Lakes, perfect for a picnic or skipping rocks.

Liberty Ghost Town

Just a one mile hike round trip, this trail makes for a great, short trip. This area is perfect for a quick walk or hike or for learning more about the history of our area. Liberty Ghost Town is considered to be the oldest mining town in Washington, estimated to have been established around 1867. The Goodwin brothers struck gold in the area which caused a small gold rush. Afterwards, some homesteaders stayed in the area while others chased after gold in other regions. You can now explore the mostly abandoned town for a unique peek into our local mining history!

East Rim Waterworks Canyon

At 3 miles round trip, this is one of the longer hikes on our list, but so worth it! This canyon trail is a gradual climb where you will be sure to see lots of wildlife. During this time there will be colorful fall foliage and chances to spot bald eagles and elk. Kids and dogs are all welcomed on the trail, just be sure to stay on the canyon path to avoid an elk path on a ridge line.

Photo credit: www.wta.org

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A Land of Contrasts
From the mighty Columbia River to the snow-capped Cascade Mountains, Kittitas County is a premier destination for outdoor adventure, sunshine, and unique cultural offerings.
Find out more at one of our Visitor Centers:

Ellensburg, WA
609 N. Main St, Ellensburg
(888) 925-2204

Cle Elum, WA
312 W. 1st Street, Cle Elum
(509) 674-6880

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