Manastash Ridge, or as locals call it, "The Ridge", is a favorite among people living in the Ellensburg area. It's accessible any time of year, and every season has something different to offer. There are two main routes up the ridge, each gaining about 2000 feet over 2 miles or so. The first route is the Ray Westburg trail, named in honor of the late wrestling coach at Ellensburg High School. It starts relatively level for the first 1/4 mile, then becomes very steep.
Trail about 1/2 mile up the Westburg trail
There are three steep sections for the first 1.5 miles, each followed by a level bench to rest weary lungs and legs. The last 1/2 mile to memorial point is also steep, but the worst of the climbing is behind. The view from the top includes all of the Kittitas valley, including the towns of Ellensburg and Kittitas, as well as a magnificent view of the Stuart Range and peaks beyond.
View of the Stuart Range
The second route is known as the Boy Scout trail, in honor of a determined group of scouts who built it as an easier alternative to the steep Westburg trail. It is about 1/2 mile longer but gains elevation more gradually. It also spends much of its time in the trees, in contrast to the Westburg trail which is exposed for the entire route. The Boy Scout trail meets up with the Westburg trail 1/2 mile before the summit, and they become the same trail.
After reaching Ellensburg via I-90 or I-82, take exit 109 on I-90 to get to Canyon Road. Travel north for 1/2 mile and take a left on Umptanum Road. Follow Umptanum for 1.5 miles and take a right on Manastash Road. Follow Manastash for about 3.5 miles to the intersection with Cove Road and take a left. There is a parking area that says "Manastash Trail Parking". From there walk 1/4 mile up the road, past the gate and up to the footbridge across the drainage canal. From there the Westburg trail is to the left, and the Boy Scout trail is to the right.
There is no red tape in this area except respecting the private property around the parking area at the beginning.
When to Climb
Every season is available on this trail. The author has personally done the trail in every conceivable weather condition as well as every season. In the spring snow may linger until April or May on the upper slopes, so plan accordingly. Summer and Fall are straightforward other than bringing lots of sunscreen and water for hot summer days. In the wintertime the trail is still easy enough to follow, but yaktrax and/or crampons are recommended because it can become very icy.