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  • Writer's pictureChasingBuffaloesandBeyond

How to Explore Yakima, Washington

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

For a great weekend getaway - Yakima, Washington is a great destination! From Seattle, the drive takes a little over two hours. Arriving in Yakima - a sign welcomes you to the 'Palm Springs of Washington'. Located in the Yakima Valley, Yakima is known it's fertile lands that are full of Apple & Cherry Orchards as well as Wineries. We spent the weekend camping at the Yakima Sportsman State Park and had a great time exploring this wonderful corner of Washington State. Here is how to make the most of a weekend getaway to Yakima, Washington.

Blue skies and rolling desert hills along the road near Yakima, Washington.
Sunny skies welcome us to Yakima, Washington



Yakima Sportsman State Park

Cowiche Canyon Trail & Wilridge Winery

Los Hernandez Tamales


Playground along the Yakima River

Downtown Yakima & Wine Tasting

Barrett Orchards




Normally Yakima is a great location to escape the cooler, rainier west side of Washington. Unfortunately for us, the weekend we spent camping in Yakima Sportsman State Park ended up being quite a cool and rainy weekend. Although bright blue skies welcomed us as we arrived and set up camp on Friday night the rest of the weekend was a bit cool and stormy. Luckily we were well prepared and our tent handled the rains just fine! As for the campground itself, we loved staying in this spot! The sites were large and spacious with plenty of grass space for little ones to run around and we really enjoyed the playground area! The park was originally created by the Yakima Sportsman Associate for game management and to protect the natural resources found in this area. The park itself is a green oasis in the otherwise dry and desert environment that is found in Yakima and is home to numerous bird species and is a great place for bird watching.



Start off the day with a hike on the Cowiche Canyon Trail to Wilridge Winery (3.9 miles roundtrip). What could be more fun than a hike thru a beautiful canyon that leads to a winery? This is one of the most unique trails that we have have hiked as it included a stop for wine tasting right in the middle of the hike! Crossing Cowiche Creek numerous times, this trail is beautiful in the spring & early summer when wildflowers are in bloom!

Arriving at Wilridge Winery was a rewarding stop mid-way thru the hike. After huffing up the hill with a child on our back, it was a much needed break for everyone and our son loved running around in the grassy area at the winery. Grab a flight of wine, sit back and enjoy some down time!



Outside view of the Los Hernandez Tamales Restaurant
Los Hernandez Tamales - Delicious!

After our day of hiking we were hungry! A must stop while visiting Yakima is at Los Hernandez Tamales. These are hands down the best tamales we have ever had! In addition to your traditional tamale fillings, they also offer tamales based on what vegetable is in season locally - we were lucky enough to enjoy some asparagus tamales! Yes, asparagus - they were amazing! Even our son loved the tamales!


DAY 2:


Waking up to another cloudy and slight rainy morning which is very odd for Yakima in the summer, we decided to start off the day by heading to a wonderful park along the Yakima River - the Sunrise Rotary Park McGuire Community Playground. This is a lovely area to take a stroll along the river and stop in for some kid-time at the giant playground.



Wine Tasting? With a toddler? Sure! We then spent some time enjoying some tastings at Gilbert Cellars and AntoLin Cellars in downtown Yakima. Both wineries offered a great place to sit and enjoy some down time after running around the playground earlier that morning! After finishing with our tasting, we spent some time wandering around downtown Yakima and we even found a few fun pieces of artwork that our son enjoyed climbing on!



For our last stop of the day, we headed to one of the local orchards to enjoy some fresh fruit and other local goodies such as jams and pies! We stopped in at Barrett Orchards and had fun walking thru the cherry orchards! Nothing beats fresh Washington grown cherries! If you are visiting Yakima anytime in the spring and summer months make sure and visit one of the local orchards, there are numerous ones to pick from!


Interested in planning your own trip to the Yakima Sportsman State Park? Below is our summarized itinerary for you to follow or adjust to your own preferences. ENJOY!

Day 1: Hike the Cowiche Canyon Trail to Wilridge Winery (3.9 miles roundtrip), dinner at Los Hernandez Tamales

Day 2: Sunrise Rotary Park McGuire Community Playground, stroll downtown Yakima, wine tasting at Gilbert Cellars and AutoLin Cellars, pick up some fresh fruit from Barrett Orchards

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