How to Plan a Trip to Ensign Ranch in Cle Elum, Washington

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Ensign Ranch is set along the Yakima River in Washington State.
Ensign Ranch is set along the Yakima River in Washington State. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Ensign Ranch, a camp owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is open to the public and welcomes up to 20,000 guests annually. The 320-acre property schedules a number of themed camp-outs and group events throughout the year, but individual families are also welcome to enjoy the camp's accommodations, recreational amenities and scenic setting along the banks of the Yakima River and the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains.

Know Before You Go

Contact the ranch by calling 509-656-2344 or emailing EnsignRanchCamp@ldsmail.net to check what accommodations are available for the time you want to visit. The camp does not permit alcohol or tobacco products, and requires its guests to adhere to the church's modesty standards -- such as unmarried men and women sleeping in separate quarters and no bikinis or halter tops for females or tight swimsuits for males. Tea, coffee and pets also are prohibited.

Overnight Options and Essentials

Make a list of all the supplies you should pack for your trip. The camp has tent sites, a limited number of RV sites with hookups, A-frame tents, cabins, bunkhouses and lodge rooms for rent, but most facilities are rustic. Guests must bring their own sleeping bags, bed and bath linens, and toiletries. Potable water, toilets and showers are provided, and some campsites have fire pits and picnic tables. Some meals are provided for scheduled group events, but families should bring their own cookware, utensils and food to prepare if they want to eat on-site. Other suggested items include flashlights, coolers, ice, insect repellant, first-aid kits and recreation equipment. The town of Cle Elum, 8 miles east, has restaurants and stores where you can stock up on supplies.

Fun and Games

Decide which activities you would like to participate in during your stay. Guests can choose from among a host of recreational attractions at Ensign Ranch, including cycling or hiking along several trails; a ropes course; a climbing tower; and canoeing, kayaking, tubing and fishing in Crabtree Lake or on the Yakima River. The camp has canoes available for the lake only, so guests must bring their own vessels for paddling on the river. The camp also has horses available for trail riding, along with a water slip-and-slide. Other activities that may be offered during special events include archery, hay rides, 5K runs/walks, pie-eating contests and various craft activities. Winter-time attractions include snowshoeing, sledding and cross-country skiing.

Group Events

Contact the ranch for a list of upcoming scheduled events. One of the biggest annual get-togethers at Ensign Ranch is a four-day Single Adult Family Campout held each Labor Day weekend. The camp-out, for single adults ages 27 and over and their children, typically includes scheduled activities such as karaoke, dances, a service project and Sunday church services. Among the other events at the ranch are LDS Stake YW camps for young women, father-and-son camp-outs, school field trips, youth conferences and Boy Scout jamborees.

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