Ahtanum State Forest
   

 
 

Attention: Recreation Alerts and Closures

 
Closure alert: Due to extreme fire danger, all recreation and public access to DNR-managed lands in eastern Washington will be temporarily closed starting July 23, 2021, and lasting until fire conditions improve. Learn more. 
 
Burn ban alert: Currently in effect is the statewide burn ban prohibiting outdoor burning, campfires, the use of charcoal briquettes and prescribed burns through Sep. 30, 2021. Learn more.
 
View a list of additional operational changes related to COVID-19
 
 
 
 
  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.

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.

Ahtanum State Forest Tips

  • Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Snow trails are groomed from Dec. 15 - April 1.
  • Dogs are allowed in Ahtanum State Forest but must be kept on a leash. Horseback riders may bring unleashed dogs if they are controlled by voice command.
  • Be alert for other road users, ranging from heavy vehicles to bicycles, and check your speed accordingly.

Green Dot Road Maps

The Ahtanum State Forest and surrounding areas are 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 ForestLT MurrayOak Creek Wildlife AreaWenas Wildlife AreaWhiskey Dick Wildlife Area and Quilomene Wildlife Area.  

Other tips for your visit

  • Don’t forget your Discover Pass! Learn more about it at DiscoverPass.wa.gov
  • Campsites are available first-come, first-served at no additional cost with the purchase of a Discover Pass.
  • Don't Move Firewood. Help protect Pacific Northwest forests by preventing the spread of invasive species. Firewood can carry insects and diseases that can threaten the health of our western forests. Please purchase firewood near your campsite. Find more information here.

Leave No Trace 

For your safety and the safety of our wildlife, please follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace. You can brush up on them here. Food and garbage that is left behind or improperly disposed of can attract wildlife and create potentially dangerous situations for visitors. Please pack out all food items and garbage. NEVER feed wildlife.
 
A note about seasonal gates in the Ahtanum State Forest:
 
DNR intended to host a public meeting to communicate with recreation users how to better balance our policy requirements of protecting roads, minimizing road maintenance costs, allowing recreation where it is consistent with our obligations to the trust beneficiaries, and getting local support. Due to the pandemic, we have not been able to do that.
 
For spring 2021, we are planning on keeping seasonal gates closed in the forest until May 1. We chose May 1 because it matches other seasonal gate openings in the region. We’ve seen significantly reduced road maintenance costs from keeping traffic off the soft roads during the spring melt-off in those areas. We plan to host a virtual conversation this fall/early winter if we cannot have an in-person meeting. 
 
After May 1, motorized recreation users should follow all rules related to Green Dot road travel and obey other posted regulations. 
 
For questions, email AhtanumStateForest@dnr.wa.gov
 

Recreation sites

 
Ahtanum Campground - No campfires or water available. 
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. Campsites can accommodate up to a 32-foot RV, though size may vary by site. 
 
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.
 
Recreation alert: No campfires allowed at this time and due to a broken water line, there is also no potable water available. 
 
Ahtanum Meadows Campground - No campfires.
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. The campground also offers seasonal access to hiking, ATV, ORV, and hunting opportunities. Four campsites are walk-in, day-use only (no overnight camping). Drive-in sites accommodate up to 32-foot RV, though size may vary by site. 
 
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 - No campfires. 
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. Campsites can accommodate up to a 35-foot RV, though size may vary by site. 
 
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 - No campfires. 
Clover Flats Campground is the westernmost camping facility on the Middle Fork Road. Campsites can accommodate up to a 28-foot RV, though size may vary by site. 
 
Directions: From Ahtanum Camp, continue onto A-2000 Road (gravel, one lane) for 9.2 miles. Site is on left. Get directions
 
Eagle's Nest Vista  - No campfires. 
Eagle's 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
 
Grey Rock Trailhead  - No campfires. 
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. 
 
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.
 
Recreation alert: No fishing due to bull trout protection. No campfires allowed. 
 
Snow Cabin  - No campfires. 
Snow Cabin Campground, in the Ahtanum State Forest, has a small creek running near it and offers a secluded camping stay. Open as of May 24. 
 
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  - No campfires. 
Whites Ridge provides views of Mount Adams and the Yakima Valley, takes visitors through forested areas and near creeks. White Ride Trailhead is open April 1 to November 30 to hikers and equestrians. From December 1 to March 31, the trailhead is only open to snowmobiles. Accommodates RV sizes up to 40 feet. 
 
Note: This is a winter recreation trailhead and a Discover Pass is 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. Turn right on North Fork RD and travel for 9.5 miles to the A2000 (Middle Fork RD) continue for a quarter-mile and turn left to Whites Ridge Trailhead.
 
Red Saddle  - No campfires. 
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. Red Saddle Trailhead is open as of May 1.
 
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
 
BBQ Flats  - No campfires. 
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. 
  • Vehicle access to BBQ Flats will be unavailable Dec. 8 - May 1, during a seasonal closure to preserve roads in inclement weather. As of Jan. 5, walk-in access is also unavailable to enhance stewardship of the site following reports of unlawful activity. 
  • 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 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.
 
Recreation alert: Near the area of Cascade Camp (in the Wenas) there are active forest management operations taking place. Stay out of the timber sale area and respect road closures for your and everyone else's safety. 
 
Island Camp
Island camp, located 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. Campsites can accommodate up to a 32-foot RV, though size may vary by site. 
 
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
 
Bird Creek Campground
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. Campsites can accommodate up to a 32-foot RV, though size may vary by site. 
 
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
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 miles. 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
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
 

Other recreation opportunities

Located near the Ahtanum State Forest, the Selah Cliffs Natural Area PreserveColumbia Hills Natural Area PreserveTrout 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.