Locals Guide to Getting Outside in Yakima

Fall 2019, Issue 001, Updated: October 7, 2019

Created with Kemper Brightman, Yakima365 Contributor

Yakima’s backyard hosts some of the best outdoor recreation in the state. With our warm dry climate, easy access to the cascades, and nearly 300 days of sun, the Yakima Valley has so much to offer those looking to get outside.

When Kemper Brightman moved to Yakima in 2018, he soon found that some of the best outdoor experiences took some investigating. But after trial and error – and just getting out there – he found an outdoor mecca. 

So take it from Kemper, whether you’re passing through or calling the Valley home, there are ample opportunities to move your body while enjoying the scenic beauty of our rolling desert hills, crystal clear rivers, and evergreen forests.

Read on to find new ways to get off the beaten path. Almost everything featured here is within 30 minutes of downtown (except for some of the snow and water sports).

Cheers to getting outside!


📷:  Kemper Brightman

📷: Kemper Brightman


If you’re looking for an epic riverside run, a mellow hike to a winery, or something in-between, we’ve got you covered with our list of Yakima’s most iconic (and convenient) trails.

📷:  Kemper Brightman

📷: Kemper Brightman


Yakima has many options for those looking to get a workout on two wheels. From miles of paved country roads, to single track mountain bike trails, there’s something for everyone. Best of all, our warm dry climate means the only dust our bikes collect is from the trails themselves!

road bike

mountain bike

📷:  Kemper Brightman

📷: Kemper Brightman


Climbing in Yakima is centered around the Tieton Valley. With over 400 routes spread out over a 20 mile stretch of Highway 12, it’s easy to get out for an afternoon on the rock or camp and spend the whole weekend (or summer) exploring. For those based in Yakima, you’re just a short 20-minute drive from the closest climbing areas.

📷: Ellensburg Angler

📷: Ellensburg Angler


The Yakima Valley is home to the confluence of the Yakima, Naches, and Tieton rivers. With three rivers flowing into town, it’s no secret that Yakima is a great place to be on the water with a fishing pole in hand.

snow sports

One of the best parts of living in Yakima is our true four-season climate. When the leaves start turning, locals head to the Sporthaus to get their snow gear tuned up as they anxiously await opening day. As the snow falls, locals head up to the Cascades and trade their road bikes for snow bikes, their running shoes for snowshoes, and their mountain bikes and climbing gear for skis or a snowboard.  


water sports

With so much water around, it's easy to forget Yakima is technically a desert. From dodging summer heat on the Yakima river or doing yoga on a paddle board to racing down the Tieton in a raft, there's more than a few ways to get wet on the dry side of the cascades. Check out three of our favorite water-sport activities below.


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