Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway

The gentle Yakima River winds through rolling desert hills and basalt cliffs, some rising more than 2,000 feet, for 27 miles between Ellensburg and Yakima, Washington. The canyon offers excellent wildlife watching, fishing for Blue Ribbon trout, family-friendly rafting, and camping. The canyon’s crevices and cliffs make a perfect home for the densest concentration of nesting hawks, eagles, and falcons in the state.

Key points of interest:

  • Umtanum Creek Recreation Area – Umtanum Creek Recreation Area is a great place to explore, with a fine canyon hike leading to rolling hills above. The canyon, just a quick drive down the Yakima canyon from Ellensburg, is known for wildflowers and sage, aspen, cottonwood, birds, and beaver dams.
  • Roza Dam Recreation Site – Situated on the banks of Yakima River and overlooking basalt cliffs, Roza Recreation Site is a great camping location. This site is part of Yakima River Canyon Campgrounds. Maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, it is a part of Yakima Canyon Loop, which includes other campgrounds, such as Big Pines, Umtanum, and Lmuma Creek. It is a good place for boating and fishing, and it is ideal for family trips. You can also drive along the canyon to beautiful hikes, such as the Umtanum Ridge Crest Trail.