Outdoor Activities

 

Yakima is home to the last operating, turn of the century interurban electric railroad-and it’s a trip you have to take. At the Yakima Valley Trolleys museum, you’ll see modern trolley operations and can even charter your very own trolley for any special outing. The operating season is now extended through September with trolleys operating on the weekends, and private rentals available year-round.

Stop by South 3rd and Pine Street between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday to hop aboard at the Carbarn. Trolleys whisk you down charming Pine Street along the Selah line. Fare is just $6 for adults and $4 for children.

Trolley-ing Along

In the museum, you’ll see classic trolleys like the Flatbed locomotive and line car built in 1910, the steeple cab freight locomotive from 1922 and the double truck steel car built in 1930. Popular with filmmakers, the local trolley system hasn’t changed in 100 years, though maintenance is an ongoing priority. Vintage trolleys from Yakima have been in-demand with filmmakers for decades, especially since they operate through orchards, antique commercial districts and offer a great view of the river canyon.

The Carbarn and trolleys look just like they did in the early years, including the upkeep of two electric freight locomotives and four streetcars. Let the trolleys take you back in time, whether it’s for a romantic outing, photography or film project, or simply to satisfy the history buff in you.

 

A Yakima landmark since 1904, Johnson Orchards is open to the public and has a knack for whisking you back in time. The fruit packing warehouse opened in 1916, specializing in tree-ripened cherries and still in full operation today. At Johnson’s, you can buy cherries, peruse the orchard’s u-pick for what’s in season or opt for pre-picked goodies and produce. Buckets and harnesses are available for u-pick, and the trees are tended so that no ladders are needed.

You’ll also find Baron Farms grass-fed meats here along with gorgeous bouquets. There’s Blueberry Hills Sorbatto for a sweet treat and The Little Bake Shop offers scratch-made pastries. Grab some Purple Star wine, made by the Johnson Family’s nephew Kyle, and pair it with the treasures you uncover.

Yakima Goodness

A lot has happened since these Swedish immigrants bought farmland at the turn of the century. With a commercial kitchen added in 2011, freshly baked pies and other patisserie favorites became a local favorite. This family-run business has gone from depending on dirt roads and wagons to being the driving force behind a major four-lane arterial pathway.

Although many other farms and orchards have gone the way of shopping centers, Johnson Orchards remains fixed in the community. It’s a slice of paradise within the city, a place where you can always count on the freshest treats and delicious wines. In autumn, try Johnson’s for pumpkins, corn and your favorite fall specialties.

 

 

Nestled slightly southwest of downtown Yakima, this sprawling park is dedicated to youth recreation and outdoor lovers. Featuring basketball courts, soccer fields, plenty of shady picnic areas, and an equestrian arena, it’s the perfect destination for families looking for a spot to gather at the tail-end of summer.

Indoor meeting spaces are popular for weddings, family reunions, and corporate gatherings. Home of the WSU Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden, visitors are also treated to a gorgeous garden largely featuring native plants. Soccer tournaments are held here, including the Yak Attack 5v5 and other major events. The park is located at 107 West Ahtanum Road in nearby Union Gap, WA.

Park and Rec

Tuesday evening is open ping pong night throughout 2017, hosted by the Yakima Table Tennis Club. Stop in for some fun and new friends. Throughout August, the Ben Franklin Middle School Essay Contest at the nearby Olde Yakima Letterpress Museum is being exhibited.

Check out the hiking trail heads located at the nearby Central WA Agricultural Museum and don’t miss the Cabela’s Weekend Workshops every Saturday and Sunday in 2017. Ahtanum Youth Park is close to all the big events in Union Gap. What special event is calling to you?

 

 

More than 30 miles of trails encompass the Cowiche Canyon Trail system, perfect for hiking and biking. From Cowiche Canyon West to East, the Uplands/Scenic Trails, and the summitview of Snow Mountain Ranch, there’s a trail length and challenge for every outdoor lover. Conveniently located just a few miles from downtown, it’s the trail system that gives you a gorgeous introduction to wine valley.

Although summer is usually prime time for hikes, it’s still best to check the “mud-o-meter” at every trailhead to see if any sections are likely to be slippery. Unfortunately, much of the landscape is vanishing, but Cowiche Canyon Trail is both a conservation effort and an opportunity to get up close and personal with native plants and natural landscapes.

Take a Hike!

Cowiche Canyon Conservancy skirts the various trails, featuring tree-covered streams and slopes peppered with sage. You’ll find plunging cliffs and thriving wildlife. The area is free to explore thanks to a land trust. Discover this Central Washington gem, located barely west of Yakima.

With 5,000 acres of meadows full of flowers, oak-filled woods, basalt cliffs, and grasslands, it’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll or picnic. Beavers, great blue herons, and salmon are just a few of the local residents who call the protected area home.

 

 

The Fairgrounds is home to the best Fourth of July celebration in wine country, with admission free from noon until 11 p.m. The Yakima Transit Park and Ride offers free shuttles to the fairgrounds all day, so it’s easy to get the party started. Park at the Gateway Center, Eisenhower High School or Wide Hollow School with shuttle service every 15 – 20 minutes from 3:30 – 11:30 p.m.

A nostalgic Fourth of July celebration brings the community together at this old-fashioned event with carnival rides, face painting, classic contests and much more. Food vendors dish up American favorites as well as locally sourced ingredients for truly Pacific Northwest specialties.

Celebrate Summer with a Bang

The fireworks display is the biggest in the region, taking place at dusk and lasting 20 minutes. Seating is available at the fairgrounds, but some visitors prefer to bring their own lawnchairs and relax while taking in the celebratory environment.

Come hungry and ready to showcase your patriotism at the biggest party of the summer. Of course, being wine country, vineyards will also be representing with options to pick up your favorite bottle or two to take back to your guest room.

Going without a hike in Yakima is like visiting and not checking out one of the incredible wineries! However, some trails do require permits for parking, but they are readily available at ranger stations and a number of local shops. Ask the hotel’s front desk for the nearest available permit station. Once that’s in hand, head to Boulder Cave, perfect for those with children. It offers breezy mountain air that’s just right for hot summer days. A natural ice cave welcomes hikers, but make sure you bring a flashlight!

The Mesatchee Creek Trail is all forest featuring a natural “bridge” of downed trees to help you cross the American River. Wildlife abounds here, but be careful—snow may still be on the ground in June. Drive to Union Creek Trailhead a little farther up to discover a waterfall.

Take a Hike!

The Yakima Skyline Ridge Trail whisks you over the hills and is a perfect late-spring pick. Get a glimpse of the Roza Canal from a real bird’s eye view of 3,000 feet up. It’s a moderate hike, but some children find it the perfect challenge.

At Umtanum Creek Falls, you’ll find a secluded piece of paradise within the L.T. Murray State Wildlife Recreational Lands. The trails are long, and you can choose your own length, but starting from Umtanum Creek Canyon is a good choice. Still, it can be rocky and slippery in some spots, so bring your good hiking boots.

 

There are some real show-stopping hikes in Yakima, but the Skyline Ridge/Rim in the L.T. Murray State Wildlife Recreation Area is especially beautiful. Here, you’ll find prime desert hiking that takes the cake for the entire Washington state. Along the farthest eastern edge, the absolute best views can be found. Discover desert wildflowers that pepper the otherwise brown hills and create a rich hue in the spring and summer. Birds such as hawks, eagles, bluebirds and swallows join you—and you might even spot a badger, hare, coyote, bighorn sheep, elk or deer along the route.

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There’s an official trail, marked by a trailhead, but more adventurous folks can park half a mile short of the trailhead to climb up the grass-covered slopes to the ridge. This puts you smack in the middle of animals and plants, and you feel like you’re taking a leisurely walk in nature’s most beautiful garden. It’s also safe, relatively easy, and you can’t get lost. The gentle slope ensures your car is always visible, and once you’re at the top, you get a great view of the cliff to the Yakima River.

Rim Views

Turn left, and you’ll walk along the rim to find the official trail. The trail brings you close to the rim while keeping the river visible. From here, you can walk the entire rim, enjoying the aroma of wild bouquets. Sage is especially prevalent, but as spring turns to summer, a bevy of flowers fight for your attention. You’ll also get whiffs of onions, parsley and new grass.

Take advantage of one of the warmer weekends and discover the beauty of one of Yakima’s best trails. Suitable for many ages and abilities, it’s a must for anyone in the area who wants to get a peek at what wine country really has to offer.

Rich with equestrian options, from the new horseback rider to the experienced, Yakima hosts rodeos year-round and it’s home to a number of cowboys. Horse-friendly trails snake around the region, from the rugged hills to the pine groves, making this wine country the perfect place to saddle up. You’ll be able to discover views impenetrable by foot or car, and it’s a fantastic way to bond with fellow travelers.

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There are many outfitters offering both guided rides and horse rentals, so you can customize your trip. Some are full days on scenic meadows, others are for experienced riders only on overnight trips along alpine ridges, and others are mellow wine country tours with stops at several wineries along the way. If you prefer to ride alone, there are many trails that cater to solo or small group rides, complete with riding camps.

Where to Go

One of the most popular local areas is the William O. Douglas Wilderness area. You might also fall in love with this slice of the Pacific West Trail where great wildlife views and unbelievable scenery can be found. Cowiche Canyon is another fantastic stop, or the Lower Valley Yakima pathway, where a 14-mile wine country trail from Sunnyside to Prosser can be found.

Finding an outfitter that suits your needs is key, and you can start by checking out the Back Country Horsemen of Washington. The Pegasus Project is a unique organization offering horseback riding to children with special needs. No matter who you go with, get ready to giddy up!

 

Spring has sprung, and that means one thing in Yakima: the 12th Annual Cherry Blossom Days at the Washington Fruit Place are around the corner! From April 15-22, stop by the Washington Fruit Place and Gift Shop at Barrett Orchards to see some of the most stunning blossoms of the season. Located at 1209 Pecks Canyon Road, it’s the absolute best time of year to stroll through the orchards, snap photos and enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

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There will also be entertainment, plenty of options for bringing home your own blossoms, and the freshest of fruits up for grabs. The Washington Fruit Place is an annual tradition for locals and travelers alike. Family-friendly, it shows off the best of Washington State and provides opportunities to pick up keepsakes.

What to Bring

Weather in the Great Northwest can be fickle, so check the weather before arriving. Rain boats, jackets and an umbrella might be necessary. Make sure to bring your camera and dress photo-ready. Photographers use this season to capture some of their most brilliant work.

Cash is a good idea, as are your own eco-friendly bags to haul your goodies home. Most of all, bring your loved ones and a sense of adventure, because you’re in for a real treat!

Spring in the Pacific Northwest is straight out of a fairy tale, complete with other-worldly green hues and ideal temperatures for outdoor adventures. In Yakima, try the local farmers market, where you can sample some of the best homegrown produce and pastries in Washington. Next, head to Hyatt Vineyards for a tasting and tour of the gorgeous vineyard.

At Yakima Sportsman State Park, you can reserve a camping space or permit, and spend your spring break getting back in touch with Mother Nature. It’s also a popular geocaching destination. The Hogue Cellars is an excellent source for local wines where the staff is knowledgeable and friendly and has a knack for perfect pairings.

A Break in Paradise

Cowiche Country Trail is a great choice for hiking year-round, and you can even schedule a leisurely horseback ride. Stop by the Yakima County Visitor Information Center for free guides and information on the latest events and festivals. Fort Simcoe State Park is always calling, a place for hiking, biking, picnics, and birding.

Head to Bale Breaker Brewing Company for some locally crafted beer and eats that are seasonal and sustainable. At Portteus Winery, you’ll find a wide range of wines that go perfectly with your spring break escape.