Saddle Mountain is a ridge and thermal flying site located by Mattawa, WA. Mattawa is ten miles south of I-90 just after crossing the Columbia River Bridge.  MAP

Saddle faces northwest and works as a ridge soaring site in north and northeast conditions.  This makes it a great, although cold, winter site during high pressure.  Out and back 20 mile ridge soaring flights are possible.  Thermal flying in the summer can be had on light west days.  The LZ is a 10 mile square sandy river bed making Saddle great for beginners.


Before flying: 

Saddle is in the airspace for two MTRs (Military Training Routes) used by EA-6 and C-17 aircraft.

Before flying, you must:

1. Check for scheduled Military flights

a. Contacting Whidbey Naval Air Operations at +1.360.257.2877.  Tell them you are a citizen pilot flying paraglider and are checking on scheduled flights on VR 1350 and IR 329 MTRs.

b. Contact McChord Air Force Base Operations at +1.253.982.9925 for IR 329.


Base Operations close at 16:00 Friday.  If you're planning a Sat/Sun/ Mon flight, phone on Friday as their schedules are done.  (If you forget, try their number on the weekend anyway).  Ensure the person understands what you are asking.  They might give you ZULU times, so double check!


You will only be told about scheduled flights that are public.  There can also be other scheduled flights, plus "unscheduled" flights. 


Military jets in the MTR have the right-of way!


Getting to Saddle Mountain


From Seattle head east on I-90 until you cross the Columbia River.  Take exit 132 heading south until you see the Richland/Yakima exit.  Exit here staying on SR-243 for about 5 miles.  Take a left following the signs for Mattawa.  Go through this small town and then turn left at 'R' Street.  Follow this until you come to a "Y" directly after a cattle grate, staying to the left.  This will wind around for about 4 miles.  At this point the road will continue left.  Follow the other road to the right.  While still an obvious road, it is more of a dirt road rather than a rock covered one.  Follow this for another mile or so and you're there!


Landing Zone

Cross the Columbia on I-90 heading east.  Take the exit for 26E and stay right onto SR-243 south in Beverly (gas station and railroad bridge across Columbia).  Turn left toward Crab Creek Wildlife Area and drive for 4 miles to obvious sandy flats below Saddle Mountain.  This is the LZ and a good place to leave a car if you have an extra.

Basic Stats

Saddle Launch

  • Elevation:  2,300'
  • GPS Coordinates:  46º49'3"N   119º52'30"W  

Saddle Landing Zone

  • Elevation:  750'
  • GPS Coordinates:  46º49'45"N  119º52'21"W      

Membership Requirements:  USHPA Required

Site Rating:  P2

Flight Types:  Thermal, Ridge-Lift

Best Seasons to Fly:  Spring, summer, fall.  Snowed in during winter

Wind Direction:  North and Northeast. Avoid on strong West and Southwest days  






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