A 375,000 acre outdoor playground is closer than you think. With 200 days of sunshine, only 20 inches of rain and 80 inches of snow, recreation opportunities are endless. Whether you enjoy the serenity of an alpine lake sunset, wildflowers in spring, vibrant fall colors, or hitting the snowy trails of winter, the Cle Elum Ranger District is the place you can find it all, just an hour’s drive from the Puget Sound Metro area.
The District stretches from its western boundary at the crest of the Cascades east to where the forest gives way to the prairies and sage steppe of Central Washington near Ellensburg. To the north are the Wenatchee Mountains, to the south, Manastash Ridge. From craggy peaks, to rolling hills, dense forests of Douglas fir and western hemlock in the west, open pine forests in the east, meadows and secluded valleys, the district has many diverse personalities.
Recreation opportunities abound here. 400 miles of non-motorized trails, much of which lies within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, 400 miles of trails open to motorized use, 300 are single track and 100 double track, 100 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and 21 miles of set track ski trails offer options for all trail users. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail is the western boundary of the district. South of I-90 it passes through dense forests and old clear cuts that offer expansive views and berry patches in the fall. North of I-90 you are treated to one of the most rugged and scenic segments of the trail between Snoqualmie Pass and Deception Pass. Whether you are drawn to jeep trails, secluded valleys or lofty peaks, you won’t be disappointed. Three large reservoirs, each with developed boat ramps offer water sports in spring and early summer. Lake levels drop in below the ramps in summer and fall as the water is sent to the orchards, vineyards and other crops in the Kittitas and Yakima valleys. If it is camping that calls you to the forest, Cle Elum Ranger District has large developed campgrounds, small primitive campgrounds and secluded dispersed camping areas.
An abundance of wildlife inhabit the district. Mule deer, elk, black bear, cougar, bobcat, coyote, wolves, and mountain goat are some of the bigger critters you might see. Snow shoe hare, raccoon, pine marten, squirrels, chipmunks, and wolverine also call the district home. A wide variety of birds will keep the most avid birder busy. Great horned, spotted and barred owl, red tail hawk, bald and golden eagle, ruffed and blue grouse, mountain chickadee, gray jay, Clark’s nutcracker, stellar jay, crow and raven are but a few.
Whether you are looking for a short day hike, a drive in the woods, a picnic, a challenging day on the trails with your jeep or motorbike, mountain bike, horse or your feet, or a relaxing evening around the campfire, come visit us.
2016 Guided Snowshoe Walks at Snoqualmie Pass
The two links below are for map sets of ORV trails on Cle Elum Ranger District. All Trails on the Cle Elum Ranger District are Closed to Motorized Use Until June 15. See seasonal closure information.
At a Glance
803 W. 2nd Street
Cle Elum, WA 98922
Fax: (509) 674-3800
Guided Snowshoe Walks Lead Hikers Through Winter Wonderland at Snoqualmie Pass