Yakima River Canyon, WA
|Avg Temps f.
62/35 (Ellensburg, WA)
|Gain/Loss in ft
3 hour cutoff at mile 8
5.5 miles (twice)
Summary: Located on the eastern side of the Cascade mountains, this out and back course is usually a warm reprieve from chilly, rainy weather in Seattle, Bellingham and Portland, with amazing views and warm temps. But, you’ll work for it with nearly 5,000 feet of gain over the course of two main climbs and descents, including exposed, hot and dry, conditions, and rocky, dusty, and steep trails. Also offered is a 50k the day prior, which is the same 25k course, just out and back twice instead of once.
Lessons Learned from Race Reports
- Important race rule: All runners are required to carry at least 32 ounces of water during the race. You will be required to show your water before you are allowed to pick up your bib. This course is hot, dry, and very exposed. This does not mean that you need to have 32 ounces of water on your person at all times, it means you need to start the race with that much water and must have the ability to carry 32 ounces for the duration of the race.
- Be ready for a challenging race, despite the “shorter” distance. Rocky single-track trail, a lot of elevation gain, steep descents in parts, dry and dusty, and you carry a lot of water from the start.
- While it can be hot because it’s exposed and sunny, it stays a little cooler on the ridge up top
- First descent has steep, sandy trail, which is hard to navigate and stay upright, and which you’ll do twice since it’s out and back
- The majority of the single track is really, really rocky, very twisty-turny and pretty steep.
- The downhills take a lot of concentration to stay upright because of the steep, technical trails with lots of loose rocks and dirt. Be ready for that mentally tiring aspect, as much as physical.
- Make sure you’ve got good trails shoes that you’re comfortable in for technical, dusty, rocky, loose, steep terrain
- Be ready for a slow start as people make their way up the first hill – takes a lot of patience to be behind people, or you have to start out fast to get ahead of the majority
- Good race description: steep up, cruise along the rim for a bit, steep down, repeat with nothing but sky, mountains, canyon and/or river in full view at all times.
- Expect to be walking, especially on the steep parts, and expect it to take a lot longer than a typical 25k trail race
Total gain/loss: ~5,000/5,000
Ft/mile gain: 323
Total climbs: 2 main climbs and descents of ~2200 ft each
Total aid stations: 3 total, including 2 water and 1 full aid
Furthest distance apart: 5.5 miles (twice)
Locations: Miles 5.5 (water only), 8, 10 (water only)
What’s available: Water, Nuun electrolyte drink, soda, fresh fruit, potato chips, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and wraps, candy, pickles, and an assortment of gels.
Access Locations: None
1 UTMB Point
Strava activities and GPX files