Swakane Canyon is a desert hike that's not too far from the forests of the Cascades. Situated in the Cascade rain shadow, this canyon remains dry for much of the year and notably hot and exposed in the summer months.
From the parking area, the trail curves around a bend that has a road closed sign, as this route used to be an old Forest Service road. Go around the gate and continue the hike through the open hills.
There is a steady incline the whole way up. Wildflowers bloom in spring, quail roam along the steep hills, and red-tailed hawks soar over the canyon along with paragliders. Deer and sheep can occasionally be seen on the slopes. The views are the best at the top of the canyon, though you can extend the hike much farther along the road as it continues beyond the ridge.