What better way to usher in the month of romance than with a leisurely hike at the Yakima Area Arboretum? Located on the outskirts of the city limits at 1401 Arboretum Dr., there are 46 acres to explore. Marrying the arboretum with the riparian habitat of the nearby Yakima River, what used to be a wetland is now a popular destination for outdoor lovers.
In the 19th century, much of the arboretum space was wild wetland territory. Later, it was turned into farms for vegetables and chickens. Eventually, the Yakima Metro District acquired the area and earmarked it as a refuge, conservation space and region for native plants to thrive. The arboretum was established in 1967.
A Work in Progress
Since being officially marked an arboretum, the work has continued non-stop. Today, there are over 1,000 exotic and native woody plants. You’ll also find an herbarium on site and a number of gardens. Explore the Japanese gardens, butterfly gardens (particularly as spring approaches), and don’t forget about the Xeriscape space.
From perennial gardens to drylands, the rose gardens to the iris gardens, you can visit the arboretum multiple times during your trip and always discover something new. Parking is free and plentiful, and any restaurant in town will be happy to wrap up a picnic takeaway package to enjoy al fresco in the arboretum.