Recreation on the Yakima River

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yakima_scouts2.jpgBy Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau

During the summer months, there isn't a more relaxing way to soak up the beauty of the Valley than a gentle, 11-mile float down the Yakima River. Motorized watercraft are prohibited on the river, except between the Roza Recreational Site and Roza Dam, which controls irrigation for 72,000 irrigated acres downstream.

Rill Adventures on the Old Thorp Highway can outfit you with rafting, rowing and fishing gear, as well as picnic lunches, ices chests and dry bags. The company also offers kayaking lessons, shuttle service and full-moon floats June through August.
A drive down the Yakima Canyon Road (Washington 821), which connects I-90 and I-82, is a breathtaking journey dotted with wildlife. Along the designated scenic route, you'll find plenty to pass the time, including fishing, easy river rafting and camping.

yakima_tower.jpgFollow the meandering river as it sometimes slices between basalt cliffs formed by centuries-old upheavals. It's thought that the Yakima River predates those stony ramparts, once flowing across a relatively flat landscape. As rock ridges rose, river erosion equaled the uplift, cutting a steep, narrow gorge.

As you drift, drive or bicycle past, you can see the basalt layers in valley walls that once formed part of one of the largest lava fields in the world, said to have covered more than 200,000 square miles in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

The canyon attracts bald eagles, especially in winter, as well as 21 raptor species and birds of every variety, which flock to the numerous mini-climates and vegetation types found here. You're also likely to spot river otters, coyotes, cougars, bears and deer. In the winter, two feeding stations near Naches let you view elk and bighorn sheep in their natural habitat.

Click Here for Outdoor Adventures in Yakima Valley

Click Here to Tour Yakima Valley by Bicycle

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