The good thing about hiking somewhere flat is that it doesn’t take long to get a view. While there are various places to walk in Ephrata—the gravel service road next to the town’s canal, the paved activity trail near the airport, or one of many gravel roads just outside town—Beezley Hill is where it’s at for hikers and walkers alike.
Beezley offers a variety of trails and destinations, so it’s great for hikers who want to go long on winding single-track through the sagebrush or for hikers who want a gentle route. Beezley Hill is also dog friendly, but pups should stay on leash throughout the hike, as the hill is shared with mountain bikers.
For a beginner-level hike, follow the gravel service road that starts at the Beezley trailhead and gently curves to the top of the hill, where you’ll find a seasonal light display. For a short hike with the family, walk this same gravel road but stop about a third of the way up the hill at the Autism Ribbon. You’ll be able to look out over the City of Ephrata from this landmark, a monument dedicated to Autism awareness that lights up at night. If you’re hiking with a dog, this spot will include a dog water faucet (with taller ones for people, too). Bring a picnic or just relax on one of the benches at this ribbon area and soak up the scene of a town where the highest structure is a grain silo.
Whether you choose a wide, gravel path or narrower route, you’ll catch a great view in just a short distance. Deciduous trees in the community flare bright in fall hues, and you’ll be able to spot town features like the high school track and baseball fields. The canal, low this time of year, stretches from the coulee of Soap Lake, through the town, and to the south. To the southeast, on a clear day, you can see the first few buildings of Moses Lake, a town that’s 20 miles away. Since most of the natural flora of the Columbia Basin reaches nohigher than your waist, you’ll be able to look over a huge expanse of land, beautiful in desert shades of gold, taupe, and sage.
After you’ve enjoyed the view, you can continue on singletrack along the ridge of Beezley to two tower locations. As Beezley is an exposed and treeless location, hike prepared for fall elements such as strong wind and rainstorms. As you walk, you may see desert wildlife like rabbits, coyotes, quail, rattlesnakes, or mule deer. There will be several branching singletrack routes that you can take to hike on the middle of the hill or lower on the hill near the canal. Check out the options at the trailhead kiosk before you start to pick the route best for you.
While there’s enough trail on Beezley to stretch your legs for a day, there are other hiking options just outside of town. Hike a loop around Soap Lake, explore the Lake Lenore Caves, or head south to the Ancient Lakes area. Each of these hikes will be located near natural water and showcase the unique mix of basalt, grassland, and scrub brush that make up the plateaus and valleys of the Columbia Basin.
Originally pu blished as “Plan Beezley for Hikers” in the Nov.-Dec. 2020 double issue.
Lisa Laughlin grew up in Ephrata and now works as a freelance writer in Spokane.