I was looking for a new hike to add to the list so people can keep up the excitement of getting outdoors and active during the new year so I turned to one I’d planned on taking. It was from Bruce Bjornstad’s book: On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods, A Geological Field Guide to the Mid-Columbia.
Our adventure today was in Devil’s Canyon, you can click here for more information, directions, a map of the hike and other features.
I was blessed to have my wife and youngest son along for this hike, we were ready for an adventure! It was a cool winter day with temperatures in the 30s. We bundled up with a plan to make this a hike and bike excursion.
We went to one end of the route and unloaded our bicycles, locking them to a fence at the turnoff to highway 263 from the Pasco-Kahlotus Highway. We then drove downhill to the trailhead near the Snake River and scrambled up a dirt road to the railroad bed.
We immediately headed through the railroad tunnel and turned on our flashlights.
This is a difficult trail with the large rocks the makeup the trail bed (known as railroad ballast). It is hard on feet and knees because it is so uneven but we trudged along and enjoyed the sights along the way. Early in the hike, I kept scanning the ridges around us and was rewarded with some wildlife sightings.
There was also evidence that the coyotes and the deer clashed. We saw bones and fur along the side of the trail and looked fairly fresh.
The views along the trail were wonderful. The rock formations surrounded us and stretched up and down the canyon.
With the cold weather, we saw some interesting ice formations from the underground water seeping through the fractures of basalt.
As we walked, our son had fun rolling some large rocks down the drop-off along the trail. The echo properties of the canyon were fun to play with too. There was a cutout in the rock that looked like a cave but it didn’t appear to go too far into the basalt.
As we hiked, I kept looking up and around us for formations and wildlife. I saw a large bird swoop down into the brush along the hillside and grab some lunch. It perched on a post and ate, oblivious to our presence a short ways away on the trail.
As I kept looking around, I noticed the jagged edges of the canyon rim.
As we neared the top of the canyon, we weren’t sure how we would get back to our bicycles but, as I suspected, there was another tunnel.
We went through and then scrambled up the side of the trail to the road back to our bikes.
We then got on our bikes and rolled back down the canyon. The hike up took about 2 and a half hours as we were taking lots of pictures and looking around. The bike ride down took about 25 minutes. We could have used some facial protection for the ride down as the wind chill left us with chilly fingers and rosy cheeks.
It was a wonderful excursion and I look forward to visiting here again!