Saturday, January 22, 2011

Snowmobile Recreation - Where are the Trails?

The Yakima Valley is in close proximity to prime winter recreation areas. Snowmobilers, are you ready for miles and miles of groomed trails? Joe Parsons,(videos of competition) known for his snowmobiling expertise as Winter X Games Gold Medalist spent his early days on the numerous trails in Yakima Valley.

The local popular trails are Ahtanum Meadows and the Ahtanum Guard Station. Take the I-82 Exit 36 Valley Mall Blvd. West to 3rd turn left, at Ahtanum turn right and travel 25 miles to Tampico Food Store (closed) at the Y-intersection, turn right. Ahtanum Meadows, about 8 miles from the Y, features 54 miles of trails and 15 camping spaces. At 9.5 miles the Ahtanum guard station has 100 spaces and 54 miles of trails. This recreation area was due to be closed in 2009 due to state budget cuts to these Department of Natural Resources Land. A local snowmobile club, the Ski Benders raised the money to keep the area groomed and plowed for the 2009-2010 season. This area is so close to Yakima one can take advantage of the hotels and restaurants in the cities of Union Gap and Yakima.

Traveling the White Pass Scenic Byway , turn left on to Tieton road, which is south of Rimrock Lake. There are numerous trail choices for snowmobiling located about 40 miles from Yakima turn left onto Hwy 12, continue to Tieton Road and turn left. If you are coming over the White Pass Scenic Byway from the west, take the Clear Lake exit off Hwy 12 to reach these trails.

These areas on Tieton Road are:
  • Tieton Airstrip-35 spaces and 66 miles of trails.
  • Fish Creek-5 spaces, 66 miles of trails.
  • Cold Creek-85 spaces 66 miles of trails.
  • Pine Grass-5 spaces, 66 miles of trails.
Bear Creek Trail off Tieton Road -Take US Forest Service Road 1204, features 17 spaces and 66 miles of trails.

For Bethel Ridge/Soup Creek trails take US Forest Service Road 1305 off of Hwy 12.

The Washington State Parks winter recreation website offers additional information on fees, maps and trail conditions as well as the Naches Ranger District website.

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