Saturday, March 28, 2015

Permanent #2600 -- Fred Weasley Populaire

If you have time to do one day of biking in or around Yakima, this might be your best bet -- WA-821 a.k.a. Canyon Road offers some of the best riding and scenery in the area.

It's a simple out-and-back, through Selah to the turnaround in Ellensburg. The 821 follows the Yakima River for most of its 25-mile duration and is generally flat, with one hill near the southern end of the route that climbs up about 350 feet.

The canyon has several parks/campsites/rec areas, though as far as I know there's no drinking water available at any of them. In the summer, it'll be quite hot, and you'll quickly go through two bottles' worth of water -- a lesson I learned the hard way the first time I traveled this stretch in near triple-degree heat. So, leave Ellensburg with an extra little bottle of water in the summer, and you'll be totally fine.

While it's not at all drinkable, the Yakima River does provide some great cooling spots. Most of the parks along the river have boat launches, so you can bike right down to the river and dip your toes... ankles... knees... well, as much cooling as you'd want.

The worst traffic is from around the truck stop/fast food options for your turnaround in Ellensburg. The canyon itself is generally great for riding -- hardly silent or remote, but with plenty of shoulder space and a light mix of commercial traffic, local travelers, and all sorts of recreational visitors (fishers, birdwatchers, boaters, campers, and more!)

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