Yakima River Canyon Campgrounds

Ellensburg, Washington

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

3 Miles Round Trip - 500 ft gain

Hike the Rattlesnake Dance Ridge Trail

2.6 Miles Round Trip - 1350 ft gain

Hike in Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area

11 Miles Round Trip - 1750 ft gain