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Teanaway Geology Hike to Cheese Rock

Date & Time
Saturday, June 24, 2023 | 10:00AM-12:30PM
Priority Area:
Teanaway Community Forest
Project Difficulty
Moderate. The hike is occasionally steep on exposed sandstone slope.
What to Bring

Walking shoes, water, layers for the weather. Optional: TCF bird checklist, camera, snacks. A Discover Pass is required for parking. 

Where to Meet and Parking Information
Directions from I-90 in Cle Elum: Take exit 85 on I-90 to WA-10/WA-970 in Kittitas County. Turn right to stay on WA-10/WA-970 for 6.5 miles. Turn left onto Teanaway Rd for 7.3 miles. Turn left onto West Fork Teanaway Road, and follow it until the pavement ends at the turnaround. Park to the left of the turnaround or road, display your Discover Pass, and meet your group in the turnaround.

Back by popular demand, Central Washington University professor Karl Lillquist is leading another Geology Hike up to Cheese Rock! During the hike, we’ll make several stops to learn about the geology of the area from Lillquist, who is a physical geographer and has been a faculty member for CWU since 1995. His current research looks at environmental change in the deserts and mountains of the western United States.  

Millions of years ago, the 50,000 acres that make up the Teanaway Community Forest were part of a jungle. Now the landscape of the Teanaway tells a unique geological history of the times between tropics, ice lakes and today. It also makes up an important watershed area for the Yakima Basin. 

Park at the West Fork turnaround and check in by 10AM for a round of introductions and a brief intro to the Teanaway Community Forest before your hike. Lillquist will lead the group across the river and the new trail bridge over Carlson Creek; then, you’ll ascend about 280 feet up a trail and exposed sandstone slope to Cheese Rock. After reaching Cheese Rock, the group will head along the ridge to a forest road that will take them back down the hill. This hike is short (2.5 miles round trip), but it does involve some rapid elevation gain, so be prepared! The loop takes about two hours round trip, so bring water and snacks.    

Registration is free, but limited to 15 people, and those of all ages—so long as they feel comfortable hiking up a steep hill—are encouraged to join us. You will need a Discover Pass for parking. 

Bathrooms: There are two outhouse toilets at the West Fork turnaround.