Weekend Wander

Hike around the Juniper Dunes for a change of scenery

Looking for a weekend wander? Check out the Juniper Dunes Wilderness, the home of Washington’s largest remaining juniper groves, located just northeast of Pasco, WA.

This wilderness area consists of around 7,000 acres of BLM-managed designated wilderness. In it, you’ll find both dunes and junipers, and plenty of space to walk among the grassy and subtle-rolling hills. The elevation and sandy terrain makes this open-year-round wilderness an accessible place for an early spring hike.

The Washington Trails Association says that the juniper berries attract a large population of birds, and you may also catch some rare animals such as the sagebrush lizard, black-tailed jackrabbit, grasshopper mouse, kangaroo rat, ferruginous hawk, or Swainson’s hawk.

You’ll need an overnight permit for backpacking, and fires are prohibited, so bring warm layers. The wilderness is also without maintained hiking trails (arguably part of the wild charm), so you’ll need to be confident in your navigation skills. Note too that there are no water sources within the wilderness area.

Read about OTO contributor Holly Weiler’s previous trip to Juniper Dunes as you go to plan your own adventure!


[Feature photo by Holly Weiler]

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