Old Durr Road

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4.3/5 (5 reviews)
Selah, Washington (Yakima County)
Last Updated: 07/15/2022

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Get the Old Durr Road trail guide with:
  • 8 waypoints
  • 26 photos
  • 2 trail concerns
  • 5 community trail reviews with the latest trail conditions
  • 1 video
  • And much more!
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Are you ready to navigate an old covered wagon route? This road has some significant history as one of the first "Toll roads" in the state. The road traverses some beautiful high mountain desert, and tumbleweeds can usually be seen rolling down the road. This part of Washington can be stunning in the spring, with early spring flowers in bloom. At the top of Umtanum Ridge, the views back into Ellensburg and the I-90 corridor are fantastic. Old Durr Road was built around 1880 and offered an alternative to the 28-mile wagon road through the Wenas Valley. The road crosses up and over Umtanum ridge to the Shushuskin Canyon. Jacob Durr, who lived in the Kittitas Valley, built the road over Umtanum Ridge using switchbacks with turntables. These were platform-like flat areas to turn wagons and horses and were used at each turn to navigate the steep hills. Though his route took 10 miles off the trip to Ellensburg, back then, the road was very rough and steep and was difficult on livestock pulling large loads. Mr. Durr charged $25.00 per year or $40 for a lifetime pass. The cost and difficulty prevented it from gaining popularity. Mr. Durr's tollgate was reportedly located at the Umtanum Creek crossing. The route now is very similar to the original road.
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