I combined two hikes from “Desert Hikes Washington” by Alan L. Bauer and Dan A. Nelson to form a loop hike. We ascended up Hardy Canyon (hike 10), walked along the crest of Cleman Mountain, and descended via Big Burn Canyon (hike 11). Participants included Nicole Hansen (leader), Amy Luehrs, Becky Kim, and Li-Kuei. The hike up Hardy Canyon is well defined and gorgeous. A creek flows through the canyon most of the way. It is so green and alive that it doesn’t feel like a desert hike (in sharp contrast to Whiskey Dick done 1 week earlier). We met one baby rattlesnake along the way. The 360 panoramic views along the ridge crest of Cleman Mountain are very expansive. The descent through Big Burn Canyon is very primitive. I don’t think too many humans are walking this canyon anymore. Nature is reclaiming the road/trail as her own. We were able to pick out a primitve game trail along the old route. I wouldn’t recommend ascending this way – somehow it seems better to go down Big Burn Canyon rather than up it.
We met no others on today’s hike. The trail head is across the North Wenas Road from the Black Canyon / Umtanum Ridge trail head, which is by far less strenuous and more popular. It is about a three hour drive to the trail head from Issaquah. We lost our way temporarily in Selah because I erroneous programmed my GPS to coordinates to the south side of Wenas Creek rather than the trail head on North Wenas Road. It took us about 7 hours 20 minutes to complete the 15 mile loop – so we got in more hike time relative to drive time on this trip. A great day. I would have to say that the Cleman Mountain / Hardy Canyon Loop is the best Washington desert hike I’ve done so far.
Click here to see geolocated pictures with description: