It’s midsummer in the Yakima Valley and we’re all looking for fun summer activities to fill our time. So here are just a few local, easy, and cheap things to add to your summer bucket list.
1. Naches River Gardens U-Pick/We-Pick Raspberries
Located at 4151 Fruitvale Blvd. In Yakima, the Naches River Gardens are open daily from 8am to 12pm for raspberry picking. This farm with local products offers activities for everyone.
With a small bucket around your neck, you can use two hands to pick the very best berries. Pickers pay by the bucketful.
This summer getaway option is perfect for supporting a local business and taking home a fruity snack.
2. Paddling at Clear Lake Day Utilization Area
Less than an hour’s drive west of Yakima, Clear Lake offers visitors some of Washington’s most beautiful scenery. Just beyond Rimrock Lake, Clear Lake is surrounded by alluring mountains and greenery. The drive past the town of Naches and along the Tieton River is as scenic as the final destination.
With no jet skis or boats, the calm waters are the ultimate paddling opportunity, and the fresh lake water is perfect for cooling off on a hot day.
The Clear Lake Day Use Area is $5 for a day pass, and there is quick access to the lake from your car. For nature lovers there are various hiking routes nearby.
3. Tubing on the Yakima River
Tubing on the Yakima River, commonly known as “floating the river,” is a leisurely activity on a hot day. There are four routes of different lengths to enjoy the river.
With a $5 park fee (which helps maintain Yakima River Canyon recreational areas), this is an easy choice for a summer activity. There is more than one place to park and pay to start and finish your tubing route, including a large lot at Roza Campground.
For the shortest option, covering 4 miles, an approximately one-hour route begins at Big Pines Campground and ends at Roza Campground. A slightly longer subway ride, ranging from 90 minutes to two hours, begins at Lmuma Creek and lets your subways soar 6.8 miles to the end at Roza Campground.
A popular choice is to start at Umtanum Creek for a three-hour, 10.9-mile raft ride to Roza Campground. Finally, die-hard tubers can make the five- to six-hour drive from Bighorn Campground to Roza Campground, a distance of 16.1 miles.
It’s easiest to take two cars, leaving one at the end point and letting your group drive to the beginning of your route in the other car. It’s important to remember a paddle so you can steer your group in the right direction on the river. And although the water is chilly, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen.
With snacks and cool drinks on offer, the Yakima River is perfect for friends and families across the valley.
Abi Longbottom is a prospective senior at Selah High School.