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.

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

  • Dispersed campfires (campfires outside of our approved fire pits) are not allowed on DNR managed land in Klickitat County.
  • Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Snow trails are groomed December 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.
Recreation alert: Due to vandalism, the South Fork Road gate in Ahtanum State Forest is temporarily closed for public safety. For more information, please contact DNR's Southeast Region office at southeast.region@dnr.wa.gov or 509-925-8510. 
 
Recreation alert: Dec. 15 through April 1, the following roads are closed to motorized use and open only to registered snowmobiles:
  • A2000- Middle Fork
  • A2300- Jack Ass
  • A2320
  • A3000- North Fork
  • A2400- Red Saddle

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 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.
  • Enjoy a campfire in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds only. Always check for burn restrictions before lighting a campfire. 
  • 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.
 

Recreation sites

Ahtanum Campground
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. Ahtanum Campground is open as of May 1. 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:  Campground remains open through the winter but can be closed with little notice due to snow. Check status before heading out.
 
Ahtanum Meadows Campground
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. 
 
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.
 
Recreation alert:  Campground remains open through the winter but can be closed with little notice due to snow. Check status before heading out.
 
Tree Phones
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.
 
Recreation alert: Closed for the season
 
Clover Flats
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 to A-2000 Road (gravel, one lane) for 9.2 miles. Site is on left. Get directions
 
Recreation alert: Closed for the season
 
Eagle Nest Vista
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
 
Recreation alert: Closed for the season
 
Grey Rock Trailhead
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. 
 
Recreation alert: Closed for the season
 
Snow Cabin
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.
 
Recreation alert: Closed for the season
 
Whites Ridge
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 Dec. 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
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, 2018. 
 
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
 
BBQ Flats
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.
 
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
 
Recreation alert: Expect limited services. Funds provided by the Washington state capital budget are a critical part of how DNR funds trail, campgrounds and picnic areas you enjoy. After receiving capital funding in January of 2018, DNR staff are evaluating current service levels based on this funding. Check back for updates. 
 
Recreation alert: Closed for the season
 
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
 
Recreation alert: Expect limited services. Funds provided by the Washington state capital budget are a critical part of how DNR funds trail, campgrounds and picnic areas you enjoy. After receiving capital funding in January of 2018, DNR staff are evaluating current service levels based on this funding. Check back for updates. 
 
Recreation alert: Closed for the season
 
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.
 
Recreation alert: Campfires not allowed. 
 
Recreation alert: Expect limited services. Funds provided by the Washington state capital budget are a critical part of how DNR funds trail, campgrounds and picnic areas you enjoy. After receiving capital funding in January of 2018, DNR staff are evaluating current service levels based on this funding. Check back for updates. 
 
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
 
Recreation alert: Campfires not allowed
 
Recreation alert: Expect limited services. Funds provided by the Washington state capital budget are a critical part of how DNR funds trail, campgrounds and picnic areas you enjoy. After receiving capital funding in January of 2018, DNR staff are evaluating current service levels based on this funding. Check back for updates. 

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.