Monday, May 08, 2017

Trail Report: Crab Creek (Columbia National Wildlife Refuge)

The second hike on my central Washington trip was the Crab Creek trail in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. This is a short, easy trail at 2.6 miles roundtrip, but the landscape is beautiful. Crab Creek runs through a coulee (a type of ravine/valley), and while it has plenty of plant life near it, it is otherwise surrounded by scablands.

To get to the trailhead, I followed the directions given by WTA. The entrance to the refuge was marked by a sign, and the road into the refuge as well as the roads within it were all gravel. There was a sign stating that it was primitive road and there would be no warning signs, however the roads were flat and in good condition. I only saw a couple other vehicles while I was in the refuge, and I was the only car parked at the trailhead for Crab Creek.

My car was the only one at the trailhead

This part of the path was a little more overgrown with grasses

Since the trail was short, I decided to hike to the end, taking pictures along the way, and then stick my camera in my trail running pack and run back to the trailhead. For the most part, the trail was easy to follow, but there were one or two spots where I had to search for the trail and backtrack a bit. This was mostly due to some tall plants.

Most of the hike was in the coulee, but eventually I came to a set of stairs and climbed out of it. There was a trail that went along the edge in either direction, which I first took back the way I came to get a couple pictures, and then I backtracked and followed it past the stairs and to the end of the trail.

One of my favorite parts of this hike was the sagebrush. While I love the evergreen trees, moss, and ferns on the western side of the state, I appreciated being able to see something different. I find desert and desert-type landscapes to be beautiful.

The refuge covers a large area and there were several other trails available. I only had time for one trail, but I want to come back and do more here. One of the things I loved about it was the solitude, although I realize that may creep some people out. I'm looking forward to my next visit!

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