Ahtanum State Forest
   

 
  Color Photo of Eagle Nest Vista in Ahtanum State Forest
 
The 75,000-plus acre Ahtanum State Forest, located in Yakima County, is a working forest managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide sustainable revenue in support of public services. Timber production, biomass byproducts, communication tower leases, and other activities help to fund local services, prisons, universities, and the construction of public K-12 grade schools throughout Washington.
 
In addition to earning income, Ahtanum’s undeveloped working lands provide habitat for native plants and animals, water retention and quality benefits, and diverse recreation opportunities.
 
When working in or visiting Ahtanum State Forest, always remember to:
 
Those interested in learning about planned forest activities in Ahtanum or nearby may use our Habitat Conservation Planrecreation planning, Forest Practices Application Review System (FPARS), and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) web pages to find out about proposed and authorized timber harvests, thinning projects, road projects, planning efforts, and other activities.

Recreation

Ahtanum State Forest, located about 30 miles west of Yakima, provides a variety of recreation opportunities, including camping, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, off-road vehicle riding, mountain biking, snowmobiling, hunting, and sightseeing. Ahtanum State Forest also includes roads in the Green Dot Road system, which are open for vehicle and off-road-vehicle riding.
  • To access recreation sites on DNR-managed land with your vehicle, you'll need a Discover Pass, your ticket to Washington's great outdoors.
  • No need to make a reservation. Campgrounds are first come, first served.
  • Enjoy campfires in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds only. Check for burn bans
  • Practice leave no trace principles and pack out what you pack in.
  • Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Snow trails groomed December 15 - April 1.
  • Dogs allowed on leash. Horseback riders may bring unleashed dogs controlled by voice command.
Located near the Ahtanum State Forest, the Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserve, Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve, Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve, and Camas Meadows Natural Area Preserve also provides low-impact recreation opportunities. Use our statewide interactive recreation map to find recreation opportunities near you.
 
 
Green Dot Road Maps
Ahtanum State Forest and the surrounding area is home to a network of Green Dot Roads. DNR manages the Green Dot Road system in partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and private landowners to provide opportunities for dispersed recreation such as camping, hunting, off-road vehicle riding, and wildlife viewing. View maps of the Green Dot Roads in the Ahtanum State ForestNaneum Ridge State Forest, LT Murray, Oak Creek Wildlife Area and Wenas Wildlife Area.
 
Recreation alert: The following roads are closed seasonally from Dec. 8 through May 1. In DNR's Ahtnaum State Forest, the South Fork Road will be closed. In the Wenas Wildlife Area, roads on DNR-managed lands northwest of the Audubon and Maloy road intersection and Observatory Road will be closed. Walk-in access is still available. The access road to BBQ Flats will also be closed, though access for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking is still allowed. 
 

Recreation sites

Ahtanum Campground and is one of the most readily accessed camping areas in the Ahtanum State Forest. It is located on the North Fork of Ahtanum Creek near the paved county road.
 
Recreation alert: Ahtanum State Forest campgrounds are currently closed due to snow. Ahtanum Campground is expected to open May 1, weather permitting. 
 
Directions: Start in Yakima. Go south on I-82 for 2 miles to Union Gap. Go west on Ahtanum Road to Tampico. Go west on A-2000 (Middle Fork Rd) for 9.5 miles. Ahtanum Campground is located past Ahtanum Meadows. Get directions
 
Ahtanum Meadows Campground accesses the Ahtanum Winter Recreation Area, which includes 67 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the Ahtanumn Green Dot Road system. Grooming schedule December 15 - April 1. Campground also offers seasonal access to hiking, ATV, ORV, and hunting opportunities.
 
Note: This is a winter recreation trailhead and a Discover Pass in the only pass required. 
 
Recreation alert: Ahtanum State Forest campgrounds are currently closed due to snow. Ahtanum Meadows Campground is expected to open May 1, weather permitting. 
 
Directions: Start in Yakima. Go south on I-82 for 2 miles to Union Gap. Go west on Ahtanum Road to Tampico. Go west on A-2000 (Middle Fork Road) for 9.5 miles. Ahtanum Meadows located on left at .3 miles. Get directions.
 
Tree Phones Campground is highly popular among visitors. Near Darland Mountain, it is designed as an equestrian facility and provides access to the 23-mile Grey Rock Trail.
 
Recreation alert: Ahtanum State Forest campgrounds are currently closed due to snow. 
 
Directions: From Ahtanum Camp continue to A-2000 Rd (gravel, one lane) for 5.8 miles. Turn left and go .1 mile to site. Get directions.
 
Clover Flats Campground is the westernmost camping facility on the Middle Fork Road.
 
Recreation alert: Ahtanum State Forest campgrounds are currently closed due to snow. 
 
Directions: From Ahtanum Camp continue to A-2000 Road (gravel, one lane) for 9.2 miles. Site is on left. Get directions
 
Eagle Nest Vista is a popular overlook. It provides dramatic views of the North Fork Ahtanum drainage, Dome Peak, and the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area.
 
Directions: From Ahtanum Camp continue on A-2000 Road (gravel, one lane) for 8.9 miles. Vista is on right. Note: beyond 5.8 miles. the road is very steep (12-13 percent grade). Get directions
 
The Grey Rock Trail is a multi-use trail that meanders through a variety of forest types, including ponderosa pine forests, dense Douglas-fir stands and subalpine fir and spruce forests.
 
Recreation alert: No fishing due to bulltrout protection.
 
Directions: From Ahtanum Camp, take North Fork Ahtanum Road (A-3000) for 4.5 miles. Keep left for 1.1 miles for trailhead on left.
 
Snow Cabin Campground, in the Ahtanum State Forest, has a small creek running near it and offers a secluded camping stay. 
 
Recreation alert: Ahtanum State Forest campgrounds are currently closed due to snow. 
 
Directions: From Ahtanum Camp take North Fork Ahtanum Rd (A-3000) for 4.5 miles. Keep left for 1.1 miles to Trailhead. Continue 1.5 mi. to site on left.
 
Whites Ridge provides views of Mount Adams and the Yakima valley, takes visitors through forested areas and near creeks.
 
Note: This is a winter recreation trailhead and a Discover Pass in the only pass required. 
 
Directions: Start in Yakima. Go south on I-82 for 2 miles to Union Gap. Go west on Ahtanum Road to Tampico. Go west on A-2000 (Middle Fork Road) for 9.5 miles. Ahtanum Meadows located .3 miles past on left.
 
Red Saddle Trailhead provides visitors winter access to a 67-mile groomed snowmobile trail system in the Ahtanum green dot road system. In warmer weather, the  trail provides the perfect setting for ATV, ORV, and motorcycle use.
 
Note: This is a winter recreation trailhead and a Discover Pass in the only pass required. 
 
Directions: Start in Yakima. Go south on I-82 for 2 miles to Union Gap. Go west on Ahtanum Road to Tampico. Go west on A-2000 (Middle Fork Road) for 9.5 miles. Ahtanum Meadows located on left at .3 miles. Get directions
Surrounding Area
With an open pine forest and flat forest floor, this site is perfect for horseback riding. It also allows dispersed camping, hiking, mountain biking, and ORV riding. 
  • Recreation alert: Vehicle access to BBQ Flats will be unavailable Dec. 8 - May 1, during a seasonal closure to preserve roads in inclement weather. Hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking access is still allowed during this time. 
  • Dispersed camping with horses or pack animals is permitted at least 100 feet from streams. 
  • No shooting in or within 500 feet of BBQ Flats Proper, the recreation site itself. Beyond that area, practice safety by only shooting an unobstructed, earthen backstops (excluding trees). 
  • Off-road-vehicle use on green dot roads only. 
 
Directions: Going east on I-82, take Exit 26. Turn right on Highway 821 North. In .2 miles, turn left on Highway 823 South. In 1.9 miles, take a slight right for Wenas Road for 20 miles. Turn left on Maloy Road and stay left to site. Get directions.
 
Island camp, along Bird Creek, is a perfect home base for exploring Mount Adams. Near lava tubes, Island Camp provides many recreation opportunities for visitors to take advantage of.
 
Directions: From Bird Creek entrance road, continue on K-4000 Road for 1.4 miles. Turn left on K-4200 Road. Go 1.1 miles. Turn left and go .2 miles to camp. Get directions
 
Located on the east side of Mount Adams, Bird Creek Campground offers visitors a relaxing and natural setting to come home to after exploring the area’s unique volcanic geology.
 
Directions: Start at Glenwood. Go west for .3 mi. Turn right on Bird Creek Road. Go .9 miles. Turn left at Bird Creek Road (K-3000). Go 1.2 miles. Turn right on S-4000 Road. Go 1.3 miles, turn left on K-4000 Road. Stay left next 2 miles. Site on left. Get directions
 
Buck Creek Trailhead #1 provides southern access to the non-motorized Buck Creek trail loop, which ascends into Buck Creek Valley, twists around Nestor Peak, and follows along the Buck Creek and Middle Fork rivers. The full loop is about 18 miles.
 
Directions: Start on State Route 14 at White Salmon. Go north on State Route 141 for 6.6 mile. Turn left on B-1000 Road. Go .9 mile. Turn left on N-1000 Rd. Go 2 miles. Trailhead on right.
 
View our trail map of the Buck Creek Trail System.
 
Buck Creek Trailhead #2 is a popular outdoor destination for horseback riders, mountain bikers, and hikers. The non-motorized trail system loop provides visitors views of Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.
 
View our trail map of the Buck Creek Trail System.
 
Directions: Start on SR-14 at White Salmon. Go north on SR-141 for 6.6 miles. Turn left on B-1000 Road. Go approximately 8 miles. Trailhead on left. Get directions