It’s the middle of summer in the Yakima Valley, and we’re all looking for fun summer activities to fill our time. So here are some local, easy and cheap things to add to your to-do list this summer.
1. Naches River Gardens U-Pick/We-Pick Raspberries
Located at 4151 Fruitvale Blvd. in Yakima, the Naches River Gardens are open from 8 a.m. to noon daily for raspberry picking. This local produce farm offers activities for everyone.
With a small bucket around your neck, you are free to use both hands to pick the best berries. Pickers pay by the bucket.
This option for a summer outing is perfect for supporting a local business and bringing home a fruity snack.
2. Paddleboarding Clear Lake Day Use Area
Clear Lake is less than an hour’s drive west of Yakima and offers visitors some of Washington’s most beautiful scenery. Just past Rimrock Lake, Clear Lake is surrounded by alluring mountains and greenery. The drive past the town of Naches and along the River Tieton is just as scenic as the final destination.
With no jet skis or boats, the calm water is the ultimate paddleboarding opportunity, and the lake’s fresh water is perfect for cooling off on a hot day.
The Clear Lake day-use area charges $5 for a day pass, and there’s quick access to the lake from your car. For nature lovers, there are various hiking routes near the area.
3. Tubing on the Yakima River
Commonly referred to as “floating down the river”, tubing on the Yakima River is a recreational activity on a hot day. There are four routes, of varying length, to enjoy the river.
Involving a $5 parking fee (which helps maintain Yakima River Canyon recreation sites), it’s an easy pick for a summer activity. There’s more than one place to park and pay to start and end your tubing route, including a large lot at Roza Campground.
For the shortest option, covering 4 miles, a route of about an hour begins at Big Pines Campground and ends at Roza Campground. A slightly longer tube ride, lasting 90 minutes to two hours, starts at Lmuma Creek and will float your tubes 11 km to Roza Campground.
A popular choice starts at Umtanum Creek for a three-hour float covering 10.9 miles to Roza Campground. Finally, diehard tubers can take the five to six hour float from Bighorn Campground to Roza Campground, a 16.1 mile ride.
It’s easiest to take two cars, so you can leave one at the end point and have your group travel to the start 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 even if the water is cool, you should bring plenty of sunscreen.
With snacks and cold drinks, the Yakima River is perfect for friends and families all over the valley.
Abi Longbottom is a new senior at Selah High School.