If you arrive by freeway and access the area via Interstate 90, be sure to stop in Ellensburg. Places to visit are the Kittitas County Historical Society and Museum (where you can see a fine collection of the rare and beautiful Ellensburg Blue agate). The museum has more than 9,000 pieces in its various collections ranging from dinosaur bones to contemporary tools and equipment. Call (509) 925-3778 for information on current lectures and exhibits. The museum is located in the Caldwell building on 114 E 3rd Ave and accepts donations in lieu of admission fees.
If you are in the area in September be sure to visit the Ellensburg Rodeo. More information about the rodeo can be found here. ( http://www.ellensburgrodeo.com/ ). This is a top ten rated rodeo and well worth seeing. Tickets sell fast so plan ahead and get your tickets early in the season.
The intersection of Interstate 82 and Interstate 90 is on the East edge of town and if you plan to travel to Yakima by freeway the route up over the ridges (Manastash, Umptanum and Yakima ridges) gives you views of Mt. Rainer and Mt Adams and other Cascade Range ridges and mountains to the West.
To get a closer look at nature and the geology of the Yakima River take the Canyon Rd., State Rt. 821 which goes past the Flying J truck stop and travels South 22 miles down the river. There are places to stop and hike or camp. You can see deer, mountain sheep and goats and many different kinds of birds including Harrier hawks and eagles. This is an Audubon recognized important birding area and if you like fly fishing this is also a blue ribbon fly fishing destination.
Selah, Washington is the first town you enter when you leave the Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway. Selah boasts a long agricultural history and hosts six national food and juice corporations. Selah also has a top class baseball park which is managed by the school district and is home to the Selah Vikings, the Yakima Valley Pepsi Pak American Legion Baseball team and the Greater Yakima Girls Softball Association. Harlan Landing is near Selah and is an entry point to the Yakima Greenway, a ten mile path for hikers, bikers, and birders.
South of Selah through a gap in the fold of ridges is Yakima. Downtown Yakima has a number of buildings that were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The visitor’s center has a guide for a walking tour of the ten historic old churches in the downtown area. St Michael’s Episcopal Church is the oldest church in the downtown area and was built in 1888 of basalt stone quarried locally. It has a distinctively Gothic architecture with high narrow cathedral glass windows.
The Larson Gallery on the corner of 16th avenue and Nob Hill Boulevard combines creativity and culture for a very special cultural destination experience. Call the gallery for an update on hours, workshops, programs, exhibits and lectures. (509) 574-4875.
Yakima Museums and points of interest include the Yakima Valley Museum at 2105 Tieton Dr. Yakima Wa. It houses two floors of historical exhibits including natural history, American Indian culture, pioneer life, and agri-industry exhibits. There is also a gift and bookshop and a research library.
The Yakima Visitor’s center has brochures, maps and many more ideas, activities and destinations for family vacationing in Central Washington.
Yakima Visitor’s Center
10 North 8th Street
Yakima, WA 98901