Joe Watt Canyon

Friday, June 17, 2022

My sister Deb and I headed to the Ellensburg, WA area for a four-day weekend of camping and hiking.

We found a dispersed campsite near Taneum Campground, then we decided to do the nearby hike up Joe Watt Canyon in the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area:

Joe Watt Canyon

We parked at the signboard and let ourselves through the gate. This time of year drivers are allowed to open the gate and keep driving, but it was nicer to walk:

Joe Watt Canyon

Around here green dots indicate open and drivable roads:

Joe Watt Canyon

Two parts of a bridge were sitting in the grass here, maybe waiting to be placed over some water crossing in the area:

Joe Watt Canyon

Looking up the canyon:

Joe Watt Canyon

A tunnel of vegetation:

Joe Watt Canyon

We started seeing some nice lupine in bloom, a preview of much more to come:

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

We saw other wildflowers as well:

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

We didn’t see any other people or cars on this hike:

Joe Watt Canyon

We had a partial view looking east:

Joe Watt Canyon

We started seeing LOTS more lupine. So much of it! Amazing!

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Stretches of the road were in bad shape:

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

The terrain opened up a bit:

Joe Watt Canyon

And we reached the ruins of old homesteader’s cabin:

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

These lilac bushes must have been planted by that long-ago homesteader and even though the cabin is in ruins these bushes live on, getting bigger and bigger:

Joe Watt Canyon

We followed a trail up the hill behind the cabin to see what we could see, and came across some scarlet gilia:

Joe Watt Canyon

Then we went off-trail up a hill to see if there were any views up there. Nope:

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

But we did see a deer and some golden-mantled ground squirrels:

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Heading back down the trail to the cabin ruins:

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Then we headed back down the road to the car:

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Joe Watt Canyon

Even though this was a road hike, it was very nice and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of wildflowers we saw.

Gaia stats: 5.6 miles, 1,090′ elevation gain.