Looking for an Eastern Washington hike with a wine tasting experience, you couldn't do better than the Cowiche Canyon hike. The Cowiche Canyon is located on the outskirts of Yakima just a short two-hour drive from Woodinville. You will walk beneath stunning basalt and andesite cliffs along a beautiful creek with wildflowers in the spring, stunning colors in the fall and enjoy a side trip for a glass of wine and snacks at the Wilridge Winery.
The Cowiche Canyon Trail follows an old railroad bed. It is a 6-mile round trip hike, by adding the winery stop you’ll have a 7.6 mile total hike. To start the hike, park at the trailhead off Weikel Road (directions on Google). The trail winds beneath steep sagebrush slopes and look up at massive rocky cliffs splotched with colorful lichens, crossing Cowiche Creek numerous times along the way. The sagebrush hillsides are home to numerous species of songbirds, while raptors and vultures circle above the cliffs. If you’re lucky, you’ll hear a canyon wren or spot a lazy marmot or better yet, witness the beautiful small blue Azure butterflies dancing around your feet. In the spring time an array of wildflowers dot the hillside and in autumn the fall colors are amazing.
In about 2 miles you’ll come to the trail junction leading up to the Wilridge Winery and Tasting Room where wine samples await you (check the website for the hours). Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch since there are multiple picnic tables set on a beautiful lawn overlooking the vineyards. Look for the giant old oak tree with a platform wooden swing on which you can take a relaxing break.
When ready, retrace your path through the vineyards and head back down to the main trail and go east to the turnaround at the Cowiche Canyon road trailhead. Then head back to your car taking in canyon views you may have missed the first time. Have Fun!!