Cle Elum Ranger District

Peak and lake in Alpine Lakes Wilderness

A 419,554 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. With 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 below the ramps in summer and fall as the water is sent to irrigate the vast orchards, crop and pastureland 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. 

The two links below are for map sets of ORV trails on Cle Elum Ranger District. 

The maps above are large files so it is best to right-click on the link, "save" the file to your computer and then open it with Acrobat.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Current Cle Elum Recreation / Roads Conditions
Operational Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed for lunch from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. Permit sales end at 4 p.m.
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply in designated wilderness areas.
Closest Towns: Cle Elum, WA
Passes: Some trailheads require a valid recreation pass. Check our Recreation Passes and Permits page for details.
Information Center: Office contact: Cle Elum Ranger District

General Information


803 W. 2nd Street
Cle Elum, WA 98922
(509) 852-1100
Fax: (509) 674-3800

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Areas for Mountain Biking at Cle Elum Ranger District

Rock Climbing

River and Stream Fishing

Areas for River and Stream Fishing at Cle Elum Ranger District

Day Hiking

Areas for Day Hiking at Cle Elum Ranger District


Areas for Backpacking at Cle Elum Ranger District

Horse Camping

Areas for Horse Camping at Cle Elum Ranger District

Horse Riding

Areas for Horse Riding at Cle Elum Ranger District

Viewing Wildlife

Areas for Viewing Wildlife at Cle Elum Ranger District

Viewing Plants

Areas for Viewing Plants at Cle Elum Ranger District

Viewing Scenery

Areas for Viewing Scenery at Cle Elum Ranger District

OHV Trail Riding

Areas for OHV Trail Riding at Cle Elum Ranger District

Target Shooting

The forest is generally open to this activity. We do not have recommended areas for shooting.  However regulations do address areas where the activity is specifically prohibited (such as campgrounds, administrative sites, rental cabins/ lodges, etc.). See below.  Additionally, hanging targets on trees is prohibited because it causes resource (timber) damage.  It is best to find an earth slope as a back stop to any shooting activity.  Other municipal and county ordinances may apply.  Most municipalities prohibit shooting within 1 mile of the city limits. 

36 C.F.R. § 261.10  --


(d) Discharging a firearm or any other implement capable of taking human life, causing injury, or damaging property as follows:

(1) In or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, or

(2) Across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge.

(3) Into or within any cave.

Interpretive Areas

Areas for Interpretive Areas at Cle Elum Ranger District

Boating - Motorized

Areas for Boating - Motorized at Cle Elum Ranger District

Boating - Non-Motorized

Areas for Boating - Non-Motorized at Cle Elum Ranger District


Areas for Swimming at Cle Elum Ranger District