Baldy Butte

Basic Stats

Baldy Launch
Elevation:  3,225 MSL at summit
GPS Cooridinates: 46º47'53.77"N  120º25'47.76"W

Baldy Landing Zone
Elevation:  1,250 MSL at river
GPS Coordinates: 46º48'55.03"N  120º27'5.91"W 

Membership Requirements: The Butte is a privately-owned site available to members of NWPC/USHPA and other USHPA chapters through a site use agreement.

Site Rating: P2 / H3 Flight Types: Thermal, XC, Ridge-Lift

Best Season to Fly: Fall to Spring, with Fall being the best

Best Times to Fly: Best XC is mid-day with lighter, flyable conditions earlier or later

Wind Direction: This site works with most wind directions as long as the winds aren't strong. XC potential is best on light and variable days or light south or southwest winds. This can be a very active site with strong mid-day conditions. The site also offers very nice ridge soaring when the wind is northerly. 

Wind speed: Min 0 Ideal 7 Max (Pg 12 HG 15)

Glide ratio: 4.3 to North lz, 4.6 to South lz

Weather: Check conditions for both Yakima and the Kittitas Valley / Ellensburg


· Dust devils can occur on this site so hook-ins should only occur when ready to launch

· Thunderstorms can build quickly in this region so be prepared if flying XC by getting a current weather forecast before flying

· Baldy “bullets” occur during high pressure days. These are strong turbulent thermals that release from the ground so fly actively at all times

 Baldy Butte is the highest point along
the Umtanum Ridge.
Great ridge soaring when northerly;
excellent thermal flying
when light and variable or SW. 
Solar heating on the south
launch makes for good thermic flying on
sunny days.

Flying north towards Baldy's LZ with the Yakima river in the background  
photo by Mike Bomstad



The Butte is a privately owned site available to members of NWPC through a site use agreement.

By agreement with the landowner, NWPC members are welcome provided they are USHPA members and P2 + rated and have contributed towards the Annual site fee the club pays the land owners. Contributions normally get collected at the Baldy fly-in in September. If you haven't contributed or signed a waiver and are not on our list you will be asked to donate.  So please do your due diligence before turning up at the site. The gate has a combo lock which is changed regularly.

All pilots must participate in a site orientation with one of the Baldy Butte guides and must sign a comprehensive site waiver on an annual basis that runs from Sept to Sept and can be renewed at the Baldy Fly-in.


Getting to Baldy

Access to launch is by private road with a locked gate.  Hiking to launch is also an option.  From I-90 take the Canyon exit.
Turn left at the stop sign and head south on Canyon, which becomes the Yakima Canyon Highway (SR-821). 
The access gate is on the Yakima Canyon Highway just south of the Squaw Creek Ranch and across from a geologic landmark
called 'the rock'.  Any vehicle going up to the hill (east side of Canyon Road) is required to be in 4WD/AWD, with a shovel and fire extinguisher on board. Other site requirements are covered in the orientation.
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