Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserve

Bill and I have ended our hiking year with a return to Central Washington – specifically areas outside of and around the city of Yakima, and the Yakama Nation. The next three posts will be about these hikes.

North of Yakima, just inside the magnificent Yakima Canyon, is the Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserve. This region was created in 1993 by the DNR to protect the very rare basalt daisy, Erigeron basalticus – a unique little perennial that populates the harsh environment of basalt cliffs in one of the driest portions of Washington state. (As Bill and I no longer do rock-climbing, we didn’t see any of the daisies that live on the cliffs.) This ancient landscape is remarkably sparse, rocky, and very beautiful. It is home to many different raptors, noisy ravens, and rattlesnakes. In addition to the basalt daisy, the region is home to a variety of bunchgrasses, sagebrushes, and some wildflowers. I will include a link to the DNR page at the end of this post.

Following are a few pictures of our visits to this remarkable region. We hiked this area twice – on our way to and on our way home from Yakima – one mid-day hike and one early morning hike. These pictures are from both times. My phone camera doesn’t do justice to this stark, wild and beautiful area, and the only way to truly grasp its wild beauty is to visit in person. I hope these pictures inspire you to do so.

Informative signs dot the trail.

Early morning frost in the shade of cliffs.

Once the sun reaches into the valley, the landscape warms up rapidly.

Both tall and short sagebrush.

A few wildflowers hang on in late October.

Bluebunch wheatgrass along the trail.

Interstate 90 bridge off in the distance.

Lichen covers most every rock.

Heading back to the trailhead.

I hope you visit this most remarkable and stunningly beautiful area. We plan to return next spring to see the valley in bloom, but any time of year offers unique things to see, hear, and experience.

To learn more about this region, follow this link: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/SelahCliffs

I wish you good hiking, blue skies, and small dots of beauty to fill your days.

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