"Yakima - Central Washington's Desert Capital" Top 5 Page for this destination Yakima by yooperprof

Yakima Travel Guide: 45 reviews and 109 photos

Not the popular view of Washington State

Say you're going to Washington State and everyone will imagine Seattle, Puget Sound, and the forests of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. But there's another Washington State on the eastern side of the mountains. (Actually, there are several other Washingtons.) The central valley of Washington is a dry desert region, and yet it is also one of the United States most productive agricultural regions, thanks to the bounteous waters that flow through the Yakima and Columbia rivers. Yakima is the largest city in central Washington, and something of a hub for the entire region.

Out in the Summer Sun

I have friends in Yakima who I visit regularly when I am out in the Northwest. They are a married couple, both originally from the upper peninsula of Michigan, but they moved out west for employment opportunities. Yakima is a far cry from the great North Woods, but they tell me that the area grows on you after a while. It's also a very interesting region culturally - large Hispanic and native American communities.

The many regions of Washington State

Driving from Seattle to Yakima is a crash course in the effects of geography on climate and vegetation. You leave the lush, damp Puget Sound region to climb into the foothills of the Northern Cascades. Snoqualmie Pass, at 3022, is a mountain pass that would not be out of place in the Colorado Rockies. But then driving down I-90 you enter into the "precipiation shadow" caused by the mountain chain, and the land become steadily dryer and more barren. I-90 continues eastward across more desert terrain toward Spokane; in order to reach Yakima you take I-82 up and over the scenic Saddle Mountains. There are attractive views from roadside pull-offs on either side of the interstate. I took this photo in the winter of 2004, after the valley had been blanketed by a dusting of light snow.)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The surrounding desert has a particular beauty
  • Cons:Intensive agribusiness and strong class divisions in town
  • Last visit to Yakima: Mar 2004
  • Intro Updated Mar 27, 2004
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Reviews (17)

Comments (4)

  • Jul 27, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    This is the Rosedell B&B, not the oldest house in Yakima, besides the Yakama tribe have lived in this area for thousands of year, they probably have the oldest dwelling.

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2007 at 7:46 AM

    Nice highlights of retro Yak. Drove through many times during college days, now going back for a wine country trip. (From college co-ed to wino). Maybe I'll pass out on that same table...

  • Oct 22, 2006 at 5:09 AM

    the City of Low Expectations" I think thats a good title I love it here I have tried to leave many times and always find my way here I think its home now I love these rolling hills and the awesome countryside...the lushness of it all!

  • May 24, 2004 at 6:54 PM

    Wow, surprised to see a Yak page on here! it sure is a unique city, even if slightly boring. Great stuff, and lovely photos, especially of the Yak County Jail. That's where i've spent most of my days =)


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