Yakima River Canyon Campgrounds

Ellensburg, Washington

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Overview

The gentle Yakima River winds for 27 miles through massive basalt cliffs and rolling desert hills between Ellensburg and Yakima, Washington. This area is popular for wildlife viewing, fishing, and floating the river.

Recreation

The Yakima River Canyon is a popular destination for plant and wildlife viewing, including bighorn sheep, various birds of prey, and mule deer. This section of the river is classified as a Blue Ribbon trout stream, but is catch and release only. One of the most popular summer activities is floating the river, which is a family friendly Class 1 river with no rapids. Rafters often put in at Umtanum and take out at Roza.

Facilities

All four BLM-managed recreation sites offer picnic tables, fire rings, nearby dumpsters and vault toilets. Hookups and potable water are not provided. Big Pines campground is where the majority of the campsites are located, and contains two group campsites. Umtanum, Lmuma Creek, and Roza also offer campsites. Umtanum and Roza receive high day-use visitation during the summer months. Roza offers a concrete boat launch. Motorboats are prohibited upstream from Roza.

Natural Features

Within the Yakima River Canyon Campgrounds there are four developed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites with river access: Umtanum, Lmuma Creek, Big Pines, and Roza. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the massive basalt cliffs, rolling desert hills, riparian vegetation, and the cool water of the Yakima River.

Nearby Attractions

The cities of Ellensburg and Yakima, Central Washington University, and Cowiche Canyon trails are near by. Umtanum recreation site offers a footbridge to cross the Yakima River and access to Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Lands on the west side of the river.

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Adventures Nearby

  • Hike Umtanum Creek Canyon

    Park your vehicle at the Umtanum Creek Canyon Recreation Area. Be aware that from mid-May to mid-September there is a $5.00 per vehicle, per day parking fee since the land is owned by Bureau of Land Management.Grab your gear and head for the swing...

    3 miles 500 ft gain

  • Hike the Rattlesnake Dance Ridge Trail

    Starting at an elevation of 2050 feet and immediately off the gravel parking lot to the side of Canyon Road, begin the uphill charge on the vast, empty Rattlesnake Dance Trail. A few steps in, the tone will be set as to what you are up against.Alt...

    2.6 miles 1350 ft gain

  • Hike Manastash Ridge

    Manastash Ridge is a popular hike in Ellensburg, Washington, attracting many locals and students of Central Washington University. While attending school, I climbed the Ridge a handful of times, always with struggle. After making my resolution of ...

    4 miles 1700 ft gain