Durr Rd / Umtanum Ridge Trip Report w/ Pix - 6-30-2012 - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-05-2012, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
lupinsea
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Durr Rd / Umtanum Ridge Trip Report w/ Pix - 6-30-2012

.


Old Durr Rd & Umtanum Ridge
Ellensburg, WA


June 30th, 2012


This past saturday I took a group of beginners out on a Jeep run south of Ellensburg, WA (2 hrs east of Seattle). I had run part of it before but this was the first time we ran most of the ridge.

The route starts out on Old Durr Rd which was opened in 1880 as a wagon road between Ellensburg and Yakima to the south. It drops down into Umtanum Canyon and then climbs up to the top of the adjacent ridge. Once up on the ridge we ran the ridge trail west and then back east to an overlook into the Yakima river canyon.

Unlike western washington it was much drier on the eastern side of the cascades and for much of the ridge trail we were driving through spars grass and sagebrush. Appart from the occasional lonely stand of trees we didn't hit tree cover until the western end where we looped down and back up from Black Canyon and it's pine trees.

It was an easy run and we kept it mostly in 2WD the whole time but it was some beautiful scenery. We had good weather at the start and end of the day but about mid-afternoon we managed to stay right on the edge of a big storm cell. It was fascinating watching the storm cell swallow up the landscape as it came marching over one ridge line after the next.

Oh, and afterward I got to try out the new On-Board Air system. Oh hell yeah it works! Got all for rigs air up in no time. We actually started airing up one of the rigs with my old little red electric compressor but after airing up 1 1/2 tires with that compared to fully airing up two entire sets of tires on two other rigs we put the little red compressor away.


Final Note: If anyone decides to run this route, please stay out of any mud holes on the top of the Umtanum Ridge. The state land agency doesn't want any "mudding". If they see it they'll shut the area down. So enjoy the trail but don't wander off it into the mud holes. Please.





Our group of 4 rigs for the day. Two Wranglers, a Cherokee and F250.




Climbing up out of the canyon on our way up to the top of the ridge.




Stopping for lunch at the radio towers at the top of the ridge.




Leaving the pine trees of Black Canyon behind (behind the ridge on
the left) as we head back up to the top of Umtanum Ridge.




Crossing a broad draw on the top of the ridge.




A novice getting sideways on an off-camber obstacle.




Overlooking the Yakima river canyon on the east end of the ridge.




A panoramic image from the east end of the ridge looking
back. You can see the edge of the storm cell as well as
the four rigs (tiny colorful dots on left).




Splashing through Umtanum Creek as we head home.



- Jay
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-05-2012, 11:12 PM
Sextiva
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Looks amazing. Im jealous.

1996 GC
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-06-2012, 10:51 AM
ken123
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Did it a while back & can't wait to do it again. Do you know if you can pop into the L.T. Murray area?
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-07-2012, 08:51 AM
Rufusbob
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I did this trail last July in my Kia Soul! Thankfully the creek was low. It is beautiful but I recommend a 4x4 to do it. I now have a Jeep and will be going back.
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-07-2012, 09:45 AM
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Nice pictures! Having on board air has got to be nice. Plus it's a good thing that the novice had a passenger.


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post #6 of 13 Old 07-09-2012, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
lupinsea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken123
Did it a while back & can't wait to do it again. Do you know if you can pop into the L.T. Murray area?
Ken123, you can certainly travel the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area but you'll need a state Discovery Pass to do so. And technically, you'll need a Discovery Pass to run Umtanum Ridge and Durr Rd as all those areas are on State Land. Both are a mix of DNR and WDFW lands. You'll also need a Discovery Pass for Walker Valley and (I think) Tahuya, and Elbe, not to mention any state parks you want to check out. If you hit these areas it might be worth getting an annual pass.

Durr Rd and the Ridge area part of an area known as the Wenas Wildlife Area and there are a whole bunch of "green dot" roads throughout the area that you can travel on. The ridge trail and Durr Rd are two such roads. L.T. Murrary is also under the green dot road system as well as another place north of Vantage called Naneum State Forest or some such. And I think there is the Ahtnum Forest area, too, east of Yakima heading up to Divide Ridge.

I tend to prefer more technical trails but these are gorgeous places to take your rig. Most of the "trails" aren't that technical so almost any decent 4x4 will do, even stock. Here is some info for you:

WA Dept fo Natural Resources Map Page

L.T. Murray Green Dot Map
Ahtanum Green Dot Map
Naneum Green Dot Map
Naneum Ridge State Forest West Green Dot Map
Wenas Arear Green Dot Map (Durr Rd and Umtanum Ridge area)




Quote:
Originally Posted by grogie
Nice pictures! Having on board air has got to be nice. Plus it's a good thing that the novice had a passenger.
It is. I just did the OBA conversion of my a/c system a couple weeks ago and it rocks. Very fast. Here is the write-up if you're interested.

- Jay
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-09-2012, 02:05 PM
IslandTJ
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Reminds me of the East side of Oregon .

1998 Sahara TJ

Now Jeeping in Oregon
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-10-2012, 05:30 PM
ken123
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Thanks lupinsea!

Will check it out, anyone thinking 'bout a Natches run?
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-10-2012, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
lupinsea
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I'll probably be leading a group from church over the Naches in August. But my next run will be up the Fortune Creek trail and such north of Cle Elum toward the end of July, again leading a church group.

- Jay
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-27-2013, 03:22 PM
Haakon
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We just ran Durr Road on Saturday. Still green, flowers were out, they built a bridge over Umptanum creek so no more driving through the water. Next trip we'll have to run the ridge after climbing out of the canyon. This time we went all the way down to Wenas road and took it all the way around to Umptanum road and back to Ellensberg. That stretch was pretty dull, 1/2 paved and the rest nicely graded gravel that was about as smooth as pavement.
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post #11 of 13 Old 05-30-2013, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
lupinsea
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The ridge is nice. Run it as far east as you can go. There is a nice overlook down into the Yakima River valley. Then run westward and dip down into Black Canyon. It's a pretty area up there.

- Jay
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-03-2013, 06:28 PM
19Mike95
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Is that BLM land or is it DNR land? Cause that looks really familiar
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post #13 of 13 Old 09-17-2013, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
lupinsea
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It'd a mix of DNR and Dept of Fish & Wildlife managed land. Refered to as the Wenas area if you were to grab a map of DNR's website.

- Jay
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