About Outdoor Recreation
Information about outdoor recreation and nature conservancy is provided for the Tri-Cities Washington metropolitan area and other nearby communities including Yakima, Moses Lake, Walla Walla and Pendleton (see List of Communities & Area Map).
Weekly Events, Attractions & Things To Do
Visit my blog for a weekly list of things to do in the Tri-Cities!
Table of Contents
- ADA Accessible Outdoor Recreation
- Archery & Shooting Associations
- Bird Watching, Native Plant Identification & Wildlife Viewing
- Biking & Cycling Clubs, Guides and Maps
- Boating, Canoeing, Kayaking & Sailing
- City Parks & Recreation Departments
- Conservation Organizations & Recreation Opportunities
ADA Accessible Outdoor Recreation - Eastern Washington
Archery & Shooting Associations
Several shooting and archery activities are available in Tri-Cities, Hermiston, Moxee, Waitsburg and Walla Walla.
Archery Lessons - Kennewick Ranch & Home
The Kennewick Ranch & Home offers archery lessons during the winter months. Cost is $30 and equipment is provided.
Tri-Cities Metallic Silhouette Association
The Tri-Cities Metallic Silhouette Association is affiliated with the National Rifle Association and maintains a shooting range located northeast of Pasco and accessible from Highway 12 to the Pasco-Kahlotus road.
Tri-Cities Shooting Association
The Tri-Cities Shooting Association is affiliated with the National Rifle Association and maintains a public shooting range at the Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Facility (RMSF).
Hermiston, OR - North East Bow Hunters
The North East Bow Hunters is a family friendly archery club that offers four 3-D shoots each year.
Moxee - Sun Walley Shooting Park
Sun Walley Shooting Park offers covered rifle & pistol ranges, archery, trap, skeet, cowboy action, rifle competitions and much more. Note: Moxee is about 20 miles from Yakima.
Waitsburg Gun Club
The Waitsburg Gun Club has both an outdoor rifle and pistol range and offers pistol silhouette, muzzleloading, and trap shooting.
Blue Mountain Archers
The Blue Mountain Archers is dedicated to the promotion of archery and bowhunting. The club operates two archery ranges (indoor & outdoor) for member use, sponsors two 3-D tournaments, a summer club picnic and two banquets each year.
Walla Walla Gun Club
The Walla Walla Gun Club is dedicated to trap shooting and has 18 trap fields and one skeet field.
More associations in this region can be found using the following resources:
Bird Watching, Native Plant Identification & Wildlife Viewing
Note: for additional information on bird watching, native plant identification and wildlife viewing opportunities, view the Conservation Organizations & Recreation Opportunities and National Monuments, Refuges, State Parks & Umatilla National Forest sections on this web page.
Animals and Plants of Eastern Washington
Animals and Plants of Eastern Washington is an excellent resource on native plants and wildlife in Eastern Washington. In addition, maps and other resources are provided. View Wildife Areas, Refuges, and Parks to find wild places in wide-open spaces. According to the author, "The Web is useful but the outdoors is where the wonder is at."
Several Audubon Societies serve this region that conduct bird censuses, field trips, and education programs. In addition, they are involved in conservation projects.
- Blue Mountain Audubon Society - Walla Walla region
- Central Basin Audubon Society - Moses Lake region
- Lower Columbian Basin Audubon Society - Tri-Cities region
- Yakima Valley Audubon Society
Note: Larry Umthun is a member of the Lower Columbian Basin Audubon Society and has an excellent gallery of bird photographs.
Backyard Wildlife Sanctuaries
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is promoting the creation of Backyard Wildlife Sanctuaries. They are awarding certificates to those who have created a wildlife sanctuary. In addition, you may view their monthly Crossing Paths News Notes.
Bateman Island - Tri-Cities
Bateman Island (Tri-Cities) is classified as an urban wildlife area and is two miles long and one mile wide. It is located at the confluence of the Yakima River with the Columbia River. Access to the island is from Columbia Parkway off Highyway 240. Outdoor recreation includes walking, mountain biking, fishing, and bird watching. The Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society offers monthly bird walks where an average of 30 to 40 bird species can be sighted.
Blue Mountain Wildlife
Blue Mountain Wildlife, located in Pendleton, aids orphaned, sick or injured wildlife, primarily birds of prey, by providing the treatment and care necessary to return them to their natural habitat.
Burrowing Owl Cam in the Tri-Cities
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has placed a webcam in the Tri-Cities for viewers to watch Burrowing Owls from their WildWatchcams page.
Wintering Habits of Burrowing Owls Come as a Surprise
Winter migration certainly doesn't mean a romantic getaway for burrowing owls - males and females don't even winter in the same place. A geolocator study shines light on the 'migration mystery' and helps species management.
Irrigon Wildlife & Willow Creek Wildlife Areas
Oak Creek Wildlife Area - Elk and Bighorn Sheep Feeding
During the winter months you can watch elk and bighorn sheep feed at the Oak Creek Wildlife Area located 20 miles west of Yakima.
Othello Sandhill Crane Festival
Watch the Sandhill Cranes at the annual three day Othello Sandhill Crane Festival. This festival began in 1998 and occurs every year towards the beginning of April.
Palouse Prairie Foundation
The Palouse Prairie Foundation promotes preservation and restoration of native Palouse Prairie ecosystems in Whitman and Latah Counties (Colfax, Wa - Moscow, ID region). This organization has documented the birds, animals, and plants that are native to the Palouse Prairie region. In addition to promoting landscaping with native plants, they have interesting information about the Giant Palouse Earthworm.
Pioneer Park Aviary
Visit the Pioneer Park Aviary in Walla Walla. This aviary is home to about 200 exotic birds and can be an educational experience for the whole family.
Washington Audubon - Great Washington State Birding Trail
Washington Native Plant Society - Columbia Basin Chapter
The Washington Native Plant Society - Columbia Basin Chapter serves the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla area and is active in conducting plant surveys, salvaging, seed collecting, restoration ecology and public outreach. In addition, this organization offers a free downloadable guide titled The Natural Way to Grow: Gardening with Native Plants of Eastern Washington (PDF), maintains a photo gallery of Columbia Basin Wildflowers, and coordinates wildflower viewing field trips in the spring.
Washington State Ornithological Society
The Washington Ornithological Society (WOS) provides a forum for birders from throughout the state to meet and share information on bird identification, biology, population status, and birding sites. Although monthly meetings are held in Seattle, this organization offers Field Trips thoughout the state including Eastern Washington.
Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) is a state grant program that provides funding to protect habitat, preserve working farms and create new local and state parks. You may view the parks and recreation areas for proposed and funded projects.
Washington Wildlife Viewing Guides and Areas
The Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife offers a wildlife viewing guide for the Yakima Area. In addition, information on wildlife viewing opportunities is available for the following wildlife areas: Columbia Basin (Adams and Grant Counties), Sunnyside - Snake River (Benton, Franklin, Yakima and Walla Walla Counties), and W.T. Wooten (Columbia and Garfield Counties).
Yakima Area Arboretum
The mission of the Yakima Area Arboretum is to create and share a living museum of botanical specimens in order to cultivate a greater knowledge and appreciation of native and adaptive plants in an atmosphere of beauty, inspiration, and relaxation.
Biking & Cycling Clubs, Guides and Maps
Several biking & cycling opportunities are available in Tri-Cities, Echo, Moses Lake, Pendleton, Walla Walla and Yakima. For additional information on biking opportunities, visit the Conservation Organizations & Recreation Opportunities and National Monuments, Refuges, State Parks & Umatilla National Forest sections on this web page.
The Benton-Franklin Council of Governments offers a "Cycling Tri-Cities" map which shows bike routes, area Bike/Ped trails, area parks, facilities and other points of interest. Several local bicycle repair shops are also listed. Some of the bike routes described, courtesy of the Tri-City Bicycle Club, include:
- Bofer Canyon Climb - 21 miles
- Chiawana Park Loop - 9 miles
- Chiawana Park to Sacajawea State Park Loop - 18 miles
- Clodfelter Road Loop - 43 miles
- Columbia Center Mall to Benton City - 27 miles
- Columbia Park Loop - 8 miles
- Columbia Park to Sacajawea State Park - 18 miles
- Grosscup Road Loop - 18 miles
- Richland Bike Tour - 12.3 miles
- Sacagawea Heritage Trail Loop - 19 or 14 miles - view map (PDF)
- Tapteal Greenway Trail
- Yakima River Loop - 45 miles
Mountain Bike Trails
Popular mountain bike trails in the Tri-Cities area include two trails on Badger Mountain (see Access and Trails), the Washington State Patrol which is a popular single track trail, Chamna Preserve, Olympia Street, Finley Hills (30 minutes from Kennewick), and Echo, OR (one hour south of Kennewick). Search for trail information at Mountain Bike Reviews or contact Scott's Cycle and Sports or Markee's Cycling Center for information.
In addition, over twenty trails are listed by the City of Richland on their Existing Off Street 2011 Trail Map (PDF).
3 Rivers Bicycle Coalition
The 3 Rivers Bicycle Coalition is a non-profit organization in the Tri-Cities that is focused on assisting local governments in becoming Bicycle Friendly Communities as defined by the League of American Bicyclists. Read their Mission Statement for more details.
Chinook Cycling Club
The Chinook Cycling Club was originated as a club for cyclists who enjoy the sporting aspects of cycling, including both national level competitive cycling and regional level recreational competition. They offer club rides for both mountain bikes and road bikes.
Columbia Basin BMX
The Columbia Basin BMX is for those with an interesting in BMX racing. This organizations holds competitive dirt bike racing events at the Horn Rapids Athletic Complex in Richland.
Tri-City Bicycle Club
The Tri-City Bicycle Club attracts adult riders of various ages and riding abilities. They are a "touring" club, meaning the emphasis is on the joy and adventure of cycling, not competition.
Echo Red 2 Red XC MTB Race - March
The Echo Red 2 Red XC MTB Race showcases the unique Eastern Oregon desert terrain and MTB trail system near Echo, Oregon. The course is 70% single track.
Moses Lake - BMX Track
Moses Lake BMX is a non-profit organization that runs bicycle motocross events at the Larsen Recreation Center in Moses Lake.
Pendleton On Wheels
The bicyclists who make up Pendleton On Wheels (PoW) are ordinary people with an extraordinary love of cycling. They offer maps of six favorite countryside routes. PoW is a sponsor of the yearly Century Ride of the Centuries (CROC) - a century tour of the historical area and farms around Pendleton. The CROC ride is Memorial Day weekend.
The Walla Walla region is a good area for both road and mountain biking. Road biking opportunities exist on and off trails while mountain bikers will find an abundance of tracks in the foothills of the Blue Mountains.
Walla Walla Bike Route MapsBike route maps for the Walla Walla region are available online:
Mountain Bike Guide to the Blue Mountains
For mountain bikers, Kevin Pogue has published the Mountain Bike Guide to the Blue Mountains near Walla Walla, Washington.
Tour of Walla Walla - April
The Tour of Walla Walla is held each April and the event can be summed up as "Three Days, Four Races, One Champion."
Walla Walla Valley BMX
For those who enjoy the sport of BMX racing, Walla Walla Valley has a BMX track.
Wheatland Wheelers Bicycle Club
Cycling opportunities are offered by Wheatland Wheelers Bicycle Club which promotes recreational, touring and competitive cycling.
Yakima - Chinook Cycling Club
The Chinook Cycling Club promotes family participation in the sport of cycling for all ability levels with an emphasis on FUN!
Bicycling in Washington State
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) offers a section on Bicycling in Washington State that includes links to regional bike route maps, state bicycle laws, and safety tips for biking.
Bike Route Mapping Tools
Map My Ride is a great tool for cyclists, hikers, walkers, and others to map their favorite routes and trails and share them with the public. You can use the search form to find cycling routes and trails locally or around the world! Map details can include elevation data and 3D views.
Boating, Canoeing, Kayaking & Sailing
Boating, canoeing, kayaking & sailing opportunities are available in the Tri-Cities. For additional information on boating, canoeing, kayaking & sailing opportunities, view the National Monuments, Refuges, State Parks & Umatilla National Forest section on this web page.
Canoeing, Kayaking & Sailing Clubs in the Tri-Cities
There are several canoeing, kayaking & sailing clubs in the Tri-Cities that include:
Columbia Basin Sailing Club
Columbia Basin Sailing Club engages in competitive sailing at Charbonneau Park on Lake Sacajawea behind Ice Harbor dam. They also host the annual Desert Regatta and teach beginning sailing classes in the summer as part of the Kennewick and Pasco Park & Recreation programs.
Desert Kayak & Canoe Club
The Desert Kayak & Canoe Club engages in whitewater-kayaking, sea-kayaking, canoeing, and rafting activities throughout the Northwest.
Tri-Cities Outrigger Canoe Club
The Tri-Cities Outrigger Canoe Club engages in the sport of outrigger canoeing. The paddling season lasts from April through October and includes both recreational and competitive events.
A River Tour Guide to the Hanford Reach
A River Tour Guide to the Hanford Reach, published in 1998 by the Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society, describes the sights and ecology of the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River for rafters, kayakers, and canoers. To access this guide, go to www.hanfordreach.org and select the link titled "Tour Guide for Rafters" from the site navigation menu.
Columbia Kayak Adventures - Tri-Cities
Northwest Discovery Water Trail
The Northwest Discovery Water Trail provides the opportunity to travel and explore the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia Rivers. The water trail connects you to over 150 sites to launch your boat, picnic, or camp along these rivers when you travel by motorboat, canoe, sailboat, or kayak.
Washington State and Oregon State Boating Information
Washington State Boating Information Portal
Visit boat.wa.gov - your one stop Boating Information Portal for Washington State. You will find information on boating regulations, places to go, the weather, and even get your fishing license online.
Oregon State Marine Board
Oregon State Marine Board is Oregon's recreational boating agency, dedicated to safety, education and access in an enhanced environment. Note: an Aquatics Invasives Species Permit is required for all operators of canoes, kayaks, drift boats and other manually powered boats 10 feet or longer in Oregon.
Boating Safety Education Requirement
Both Washingtion State and Oregon State require that you complete a boater safety education course and obtain a Boater Education Card in order to operate a motorboat (15 hp or more in Washington and 10 hp or more in Oregon).
See Washington State Boating Mandatory Education and Oregon State Boater Education/Information for more details including classroom courses, Internet course providers such as BoaterExam, and home study option. Your Boater Education Card is good in other states and Canada that have mandatory boating education requirements.
Lake Sacajawea & Lake Wallula Recreational Areas
The US Army Corp of Engineers Walla Walla District maintains several recreational areas including Lake Sacajawea, the Snake River backup created by Ice Harbor Dam, 9 miles east of Pasco, and Lake Wallula, the 64 mile long Columbia River backup created by McNary Dam near Umatilla.
View the recreation information that is available for Lake Sacajawea and Lake Wallula. In addition to making reservations online, Recreation.gov provides detailed camping information for Hood Park, Fishhook Park, Charbonneau Park, and Windust.
Umatilla National Forest
The Umatilla National Forest is located in the Blue Mountains of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon. The two nearest districts to the Tri-Cities are the Pomeroy Ranger District and the Walla Walla Ranger District.
The Umatilla National Forest has many outdoor recreation opportunities including bicycling, camping & cabins, fishing, hiking, horse riding & camping, hunting, nature viewing, OHV riding & camping, outdoor learning, picnicking, scenic driving, water activities, and winter sports.
The Pomeroy District has fifteen campgrounds to chose from with Tucannon Campground being the most popular while the Walla Walla District has six campgrounds with Jubilee Lake Campground being the most popular.
There are several state parks in this region that offer camping opportunites:
- Lewis and Clark Trail - (25 miles from Walla Walla)
- Palouse Falls - (23 miles from Washtucna)
- Potholes - (17 miles from Moses Lake)
- Yakima Sportsman - (3 miles from Yakima)
You can reserve a camping or RV spot at any park maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers or the National Forest Service online and/or obtain a list of campgrounds or other recreational areas of interest at Recreation.gov.
Crowe Butte Park is located on a 1500-acre island in the Columbia River, 11 miles west of Paterson, WA on Highway 14. The park covers 275 acres and is accessible by motor and river traffic. There are 50 full service camping spots, three boat launches and a boat basin. This park is maintained by the Port of Benton.
Horn Rapids Park, near Benton City along the Yakima River, has been owned by Benton County since the 1960s and is the premiere natural area of their park system. The park has a campground, horse camp, model airplane facility, boat launch, and miles of multi-use trails.
Scooteney Reservoir Recreation Area is located in Franklin County off Hwy 17 north of Mesa. In addition to camping, there are fishing and boating opportunities.
City Parks and Recreation Departments
City parks and recreation departments support outdoor recreation activities that typically include softball and swimming opportunities. However, they also support other outdoor activities including lessons in fly fishing and kayaking.
View some of the outdoor activities offered by the parks and recreation departments in the following communities:
Conservation Organizations & Recreation Opportunities
Several non-profit organizations have been working to preserve open spaces and natural habitats in the Tri-Cities and Yakima region. As a result of their efforts, several recreation opportunities have been created that include hiking, biking and horse back riding. Note: these organizations are always looking for volunteers to help with their ongoing projects!
Benton Conservation District
The Benton Conservation District is a non-regulatory, grant-funded organization dedicated to the wise stewardship of soil, water, air, fish and wildlife in Benton County, Washington.
Friends of Badger Mountain
The Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve is maintained by Friends of Badger Mountain. This group is lobbying to preserve local ridges for their scenic view and as open space. In their preservation efforts of Badger Mountain, three trails were created. The 1.1 mile Canyon Trail is for hikers while the 2.2 mile Skyline Trail and 1.0 mile Sagebrush Trail are both for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders (see Access and Trails).
Friends of Mid-Columbia River Wildlife Refuges
The Friends of Mid-Columbia River Wildlife Refuges fosters understanding, appreciation and conservation of native fish, wildlife and plants located at Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuges and assists USF&WS in providing opportunities and programs for environmental education and interpretation, and for wildlife-dependent recreation.
This organization maintains the McNary National Wildlife Refuge Education Center located in Burbank, WA where volunteers interested in connecting children to nature coordinate, organize, and host an outdoor classroom. Each year, approximately 2,000 students participate in hands-on experiential learning stations, including aquatic insects, shrub-steppe habitat, invertebrates, birds, and more.
Lower Columbian Basin Audubon Society
The Lower Columbian Basin Audubon Society (Tri-Cities) maintains the Dr. Rod Coler Audubon Nature Trail (aka Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society Nature Trail) which consists of eight acres in central Columbia Park between State Highway 240 and the Columbia River in Kennewick. To get there, take State Route 240 to Edison Street in Kennewick and follow the signs to the park.
Open Space Coalition of Benton and Franklin Counties
The Open Space Coalition of Benton and Frankin Counties (OSFBF) promotes land use that sustains our great outdoors and resources. The coalition was formed in 2006 to provide a forum for coordinating and maximizing the effectiveness of groups and individuals with common principles who are working on natural open space and open space-related missions.
- Columbia Basin Chapter, Washington Native Plant Society (CBNPS)
- Friends of Badger Mountain
- Friends of Mid-Columbia River Wildlife Refuges
- Fun, Fit & Over 50 Club
- Inter-Mountain Alpine Club
- Lake Lewis Chapter, Ice Age Floods Institute
- Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society
- Tapteal Greenway
These organizations also participate in the Ridges to Rivers Open Space Network.
Ridges to Rivers Open Space Network
The Ridges to Rivers Open Space Network (RROSN) of the Mid Columbia Region is a partnership of organizations and governmental agencies representing a broad spectrum of entities who advocate coordination of regional open space planning.
The Tapteal Greenway has the mission of protecting native habitats and species through conservation and enhancing recreational opportunities throughout a 30-mile corridor along and including the Yakima River extending from Kiona Bend at Benton City to the mouth of the river at Bateman Island in Richland. Many park trails and several boat launches have been constructed in this area by this association.
Washington Native Plant Society - Columbia Basin Chapter
The Washington Native Plant Society - Columbia Basin Chapter serves the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla area and is active in conducting plant surveys, salvaging, seed collecting, restoration ecology and public outreach.
This organization offers a free downloadable guide titled The Natural Way to Grow: Gardening with Native Plants of Eastern Washington (PDF), maintains a photo gallery of Columbia Basin Wildflowers, and coordinates wildflower viewing field trips in the spring. Activities take place in both the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla.
Cowiche Canyon Conservancy
The goal of Cowiche Canyon Conservancy (Yakima) is to preserve, enhance and maintain Cowiche Canyon with its undeveloped uplands, and Snow Mountain Ranch as a natural area for use and enjoyment by the public. This organization has created over 14 miles of trails for hikers and mountain bikers.
Yakima Greenway Foundation
The Yakima Greenway Foundation conserves, enhances and maintains the Yakima Greenway as a continuing living resource for future generations. The foundation boasts ten miles of paved pathway, three parks, two fishing lakes, and four river access landings (see maps).
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization working with communities to preserve unused rail corridors by transforming them into trails. This organization sponsors TrailLink.com which is a free trail search service. Some of the rails-to-trails projects that have been completed in this region include:
- Lower Yakima Valley Pathway (Grandview/Sunnyside) provides opportunities for walking, biking, cross country skiing, inline skating, and is ADA accessible.
- Cowiche Canyon Trail (Yakima) provides opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, running, cross-country skiing and wildlife observing. (more info...)
- Lake Wallula Scenic River Hiking Trail (Hat Rock State Park to McNary Beach Park - Umatilla) provides opportunities for hiking. (more info... PDF)
Fishing & Hunting
Fishing and hunting opportunities are available in Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Yakima. For additional information on fishing and hunting, view the National Monuments, Refuges, State Parks & Umatilla National Forest section on this web page.
Fishing & Hunting Clubs
There are several fishing and hunting clubs in this region that include:
Columbia Basin Bass Club - Tri-Cities
The Columbia Basin Bass Club, established in 1971, is Washington State's largest family-oriented bass club. Members share their interest in the sport of bass fishing while the level of ability in their club ranges from novice to professional.
Columbia Basin Fly Casters - Tri-Cities
The Columbia Basin Fly Casters is an organization dedicated to the sport of fly fishing. They are interested in developing the sport and preserving the waters and habitat that make fishing possible. The Club was formed by a small group of fly fishers in 1978, and has continued to grow to over 100 members.
Richland Rod & Gun Club
The Richland Rod & Gun Club is an organized group of hunters, fishermen, and conservationists who share a common interest in the outdoors. Also, this club maintains the website Northwest Game Recipes.
Walla(2) Fly Fishers
The Walla(2) Fly Fishers represents the fly fishers of the Walla Walla River Valley. This club was formed in March 2009 and is a charter chapter of the Federation of Fly Fishers.
Yakima Fly Fishers Association
The Yakima Fly Fishers Association is a non-profit group of local Yakima area fly fishermen and women. They are advocates for education, conservation and habitat rehabilitation for the sport of fly fishing in the Yakima area.
Yakima Valley Pheasants Forever
The Yakima Valley Pheasants Forever is engaged in upland game bird hunting and wetland restoration and enhancement in the Yakima Valley area.
Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fishing and Hunting Resources
Washington and Oregon fishing and hunting resources, including regulations and seasons, are available from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).
Weekly Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Reports
The WDFW promotes family fishing (juveniles, juniors and adults when accompanied by a juvenile). For a list of places to fish and fishing regulations, see Youth Fishing. There is a family fishing pond located at the east end of Columbia Park in Kennewick.
Water Access Sites for Boaters and Bank Fishermen
The WDFW maintains Water Access Sites for boaters and bank fishermen. In addition, information about the types of game fish available at each site is listed. Water Access Sites can be found in the counties of Adam, Benton, Franklin, Grant, and Yakima.
Yakima Nation Confederated Tribes and Bands
Wildlife, Range, & Vegetation Resources Management Program
The Yakima Nation's Wildlife, Range, & Vegetation Resources Management Program manages wildlife and habitats throughout the ecologically diverse, 1.2 million acre Reservation. As a Sovereign Nation under this Treaty, the Yakama Nation remains focused on their responsibility as stewards and protectors of the land and its valuable resources. Each year, the Yakima Nation opens a portion of the reservation for hunting of birds and small game. See The Public Hunting & Fishing Program for more information.
Fun, Fit and Over 50 Club - Tri-Cities
Fun, Fit and Over 50 Club (Tri-Cites) is a group of aging, but not aged, folks who enjoy the fun of being outdoors and being active. They engage in activies such as biking, hiking, skiing, walking, canoeing & kayaking.
Hiking & Climbing
Hiking and climbing opportunities are available for Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Yakima. For additional information on hiking opportunities, view the Conservation Organizations & Recreation Opportunities and National Monuments, Refuges, State Parks & Umatilla National Forest sections on this web page.
HikeTriCities.com describes over 20 local hikes in the Tri-Cities complete with pictures, videos, GPS tracings, maps and directions to the trailheads. Every hike also has descriptions with mileage, difficulty, elevation change and other features. In addition, recent blog posts are provided along with photographs of wildflowers and butterflies taken during several hikes.
Inter-Mountain Alpine Club - Tri-Cities
The Inter-Mountain Alpine Club has been in existence in the Tri-Cities since 1948 to encourage the enjoyment of the outdoors and to promote hiking, mountain climbing, and other activities (see Calendar). In addition, view their downloadable brochure of local hikes (PDF) in the Tri-Cities area.
The Cascadians - Yakima
Walla Walla Hiking Club
The Walla Walla Hiking Club is a group of awesome people that get together to enjoy the outdoors and hike the many trails within two hours of Walla Walla Washington.
Yakima Outdoors is a non-profit entity dedicated to sharing knowledge of the Central Washington mountain/desert region. You can view outings, trail reports, photographs, and join their forum.
For rock climbing locations, view Kevin Pogue's guide to Rock Climbing areas near Walla Walla. Kevin's guide covers climbing areas in Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon.
Geology Field Trips - Lake Lewis Chapter - Ice Age Floods Institute
For those who enjoy geology and want to go on field trips that involve some hiking, visit the Lake Lewis Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute (IAFI). This organization occasionally offers lectures and field trips in the Tri-Cities region that are open to the public. View their Event Calendar.
Horseback Trail Riding - Tri-Cities
Note: for additional information on horseback trail riding opportunities, view the Conservation Organizations & Recreation Opportunities and National Monuments, Refuges, State Parks & Umatilla National Forest sections on this web page.
Backcountry Horsemen of Washingtion
There are several Backcountry Horsemen of Washingtion chapters in this region that offer horseback trail riding opportunities:
The Purple Sage Riders and Rattlesnake Ridge Riders often ride at the following locations in the Tri-Cities area: Ayers Road (Finley), Madam Dorian Park (Wallula), W.E. Johnson Park (Richland), Badger Mountain (Richand), Juniper Dunes (outside Pasco), Horn Rapids Park (Richland), Red Mountain (Richland), and Wahluke Slope/Hanford Reach (Richland).
National Monuments, Refuges, State Parks & Umatilla National Forest
There is an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities available in this region and information is provided for the following:
- Columbia Plateau Trail State Park
- Hanford Reach National Monument
- Juniper Dunes Wilderness Area
- Lake Sacajawea & Lake Wallula Recreational Areas
- Mid-Columbia River Natural Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex
- State Parks
- Umatilla National Forest
- Public Lands Information Center
Columbia Plateau Trail State Park
A 15 mile section of trail in Franklin County is now part of the 130-mile Columbia Plateau Trail State Park that runs from the Tri-Cities to Cheney along the old SP&S railroad tracks. This trail is for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. The nearest entry point from Tri-Cities is at Ice Harbor Dam. Also, more information about this trail is available from Wikipedia.
To get to the trailhead from Pasco, take Highway 12 east toward Walla Walla, then drive about 8.2 miles north on the Pasco-Kahlotus Highway. Turn right on Ice Harbor Dam Road and travel 2.5 miles to the dam. Continue north to the boat launch, taking the upper road nearest the railroad tracks.
Hanford Reach National MonumentPhoto by Terry Richard
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has current information about recreational opportunities and visiting guidelines for the Hanford Reach National Monument. These opportunities include boating, kayaking, conoeing, fishing, hiking, nature observation, and photography.
Terry Richard, from The Oregonian, posted a story about Hanford: It's not a reach to see beauty in this place. He describes several ways to access the different Hanford Reach units and some of the activities that can be done in each unit.
There are several short hiking trip reports about "Hanford Reach - White Bluffs" that have been posted at Washington Trails Association that are worth viewing.
Juniper Dunes Wilderness Area
For an early season day-time hiking or horseback riding opportunity, visit the Juniper Dunes Wilderness area which is 15 miles north of Pasco (see map). The Juniper Dunes Wilderness is a protected wilderness area comprising of 7,140 acres that was established in 1984 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).The Juniper Forest area, adjacent to the Juniper Dunes Wilderness area, is popular for off-road vehicles with over 30,000 off-road enthusiasts visiting per year.
Terry Richard, from The Oregonian, posted a story about Juniper Dunes: a rare BLM wilderness. He describes his experience there and how to access the Juniper Dunes from another route from the north that is only 100 yards from the first sand dune. Access permission from the landowner is required and access is allowed only during March, April and May.
Flora and fauna information associated with the Juniper Dunes Wilderness area is available from Wikipedia.
Lake Sacajawea & Lake Wallula Recreational Areas
The US Army Corp of Engineers Walla Walla District maintains several recreational areas including Lake Sacajawea, the Snake River backup created by Ice Harbor Dam, 9 miles east of Pasco, and Lake Wallula, the 64 mile long Columbia River backup created by McNary Dam near Umatilla.
Mid-Columbia River Natural Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex
The Mid-Columbia River Natural Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex includes several refuges in this region. The administrative offices are located at the McNary NWR, Burbank, Washington. Some of the activities available include hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, boating, photography and wildlife observation.
The refuges located in this region are:
- Cold Springs Natural Wildlife Refuge (6 miles from Hermiston, OR)
- Columbia Natural Wildlife Refuge (Othello, WA)
- Hanford Reach National Monument (north of Richland, WA)
- McKay Creek Natural Wildlife Refuge (5 miles from Pendleton, WA)
- McNary Natural Wildlife Refuge (Burbank, WA)
- Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge (north of Richland, WA - see map) - This refuge is part of the Hanford Reach National Monument and is comprised of the following units: Fitzner-Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve, Saddle Mountain, Wahluke , Columbia River Corridor, McGee Ranch/Riverlands, and Vernita Bridge.
- Toppenish Natural Wildlife Refuge (6 miles from Toppenish, WA)
- Umatilla Natural Wildlife Refuge (located along the Columbia River in the vicinity of Irrigon, OR, and Paterson, WA)
There are several state parks in this region that offer a variety recreational opportunities:
- Fort Simcoe - (7 miles from White Swan) - day-use, museum.
- Hat Rock - (9 miles from Umatilla) - day-use, boating, fishing, hiking.
- Lewis and Clark Trail - (25 miles from Walla Walla) - camping, day-use, hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing.
- Palouse Falls - (23 miles from Washtucna) - camping, day-use.
- Potholes - (17 miles from Moses Lake) - camping, day-use, boating, water skiing, kayaking, hiking, fishing.
- Sacajawea - (5 miles from Pasco) - day-use, boating, water skiing, fishing, hiking.
- Yakima Sportsman - (3 miles from Yakima) - camping, day-use, fishing
Umatilla National Forest
The Umatilla National Forest is located in the Blue Mountains of Southeast Washington and Northest Oregon and the two forest districts closest to the Tri-Cities are the Pomeroy District and the Walla Walla District. Many recreational opportunities are available that include bicycling, camping & cabins, fishing, hiking, horse riding & camping, hunting, nature viewing, OHV riding & camping, outdoor learning, picnicking, scenic driving, water activities and winter sports.
The Pomeroy District offers fifteen campgrounds with Tucannon Campground being the most popular while the Walla Walla District offers six campgrounds with Jubilee Lake Campground being the most popular.
Updated motorized vehicle use maps are available that show routes open to motorized travel and display designations by vehicle class, seasons of use, and general travel rules and regulations.
Public Lands Information Center
The Public Lands Information Center allows you to search all public lands for campgrounds, parks & monuments, historical-cultural sites, lakes & reservoirs, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges & fish hatcheries, national & historic trails, and scenic drives. In addition, you can search by activity type like horseback riding or hiking. Try Search Washington's Public Lands and Search Oregon's Public Lands.
The following information is available from the Public Lands Information Center for this region:
- Yakima area (Yakima River Canyon, Yakima Sportsman State Park, Saddle Mnt NWF)
- Columbia Basin/Moses Lake area (Desert Wildlife Area, Lake Herbert G. West, Potholes State Park, Scooteney Reservoir)
- Prosser - Union Gap (I-82 Wildlife Area, Sunnyside and Byron Wildlife Areas)
- Tri-Cities - Walla Walla (Horse Heaven Hills, Juniper Dunes Wilderness, Mill Creek Lake, Sacajawea State Park, Whitman Mission National Historic Site)
- Dayton - Clarkston, Umatilla National Forest (Lewis & Clark Trail State Park, Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness)
- Umatilla - Pendleton, Umatilla National Forest (Hat Rock State Park, McKay Creek NWR, Umatilla NWR, Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness)
Recreation.gov, part of the Recreation One-Stop E-Gov initiative, offers and provides a single point of access to information about Federal recreational activities and reservations. Information about recreation opportunities on Federal lands is displayed based on the interests of the customer, not centered on the agency providing the recreation opportunity.
You can reserve a camping or RV spot at any park maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers or the National Forest Service online and/or obtain a list of campgrounds or other recreational areas of interest using their Recreation Search form.
Northwestern Outdoors Radio
John Kruse is the host of Northwestern Outdoors Radio, the award-winning, hour long show broadcast 62 times every week on 53 radio stations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Northwestern Outdoors focuses not only on fishing and hunting, but also on all sorts of other outdoor recreation topics like wildlife watching, conservation issues, camping, hiking, horseback riding, paddling, bicycling, natural history and more!
Outdoors Expo & Sportsmen Show - Tri-Cities
The annual Sportsmen Show is a three-day outdoor sports expo held in January at the TRAC in Pasco. The show features a variety of demonstrations, vendors, a 3-d archery shoot, and a fishing pond.
Tri-Cities Great Outdoors Expo
The annual Tri-Cities Great Outdoors Expo is held in March at the TRAC in Pasco. The show is packed with anything and everything to do with the great outdoors. You can meet expert anglers and professional outfitters, purchase top of the line products, and more!
REI - Outdoor Clinics & Events - Tri-Cities
REI, a sporting goods store in Kennewick, sponsors a series of outdoor related clinics and events in the Tri-Cities region.
Atomic Ducks Dive Club - Tri-Cities
Diving the beautiful waters of eastern Washington since 1960, the Atomic Ducks Dive Club consists of scuba divers from Richland, Kennewick, Pasco, Walla Walla, as well as Oregon and Idaho.
Yakima Dive Club
The Yakima Dive Club is another scuba diving club in this region that is based out of Yakima.
Skiiing opportunities are available in Southeast Washington & Northeast Oregon.
Bluewood & Spout Springs
Desert Ski Club
The Desert Ski Club is the Ski & Snowboard Club of the Tri Cities. This club has evolved into a year around Sports and Social Activities Club for singles & couples 21+ years of age.
Tri-Cities Annual Ski Swap & Snowboard Sale
The annual Tri-Cities Ski Swap & Snowboard Sale is held in late November at the Holiday Inn at the TRAC in Pasco. This is a three day event where you can buy outdoor/winter clothing and gear and even sell your used gear on consignment. Admission and parking is free.
Umatilla National Forest
The Umatilla National Forest has several winter sport activities available including sledding and cross country skiing.
Most sno-parks are geared for snowmobilers and very few exist for general snow play / sledding. Here are a few sno-parks that also support snow play / sledding in Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon. Sno-park permits are required in both states.
Note: both the Bluewood Ski Resort and Spout Springs Ski Resort do not offer general snow play areas.
State Parks Day Use Fees
Washington State Discover Pass
The Washington State Discover Pass allows you to enjoy nearly 7 million acres of Washington state-managed recreation lands - including campgrounds, parks, wildlife areas, trails, natural areas, wilderness areas and water access points.
You need to display the Discover Pass on your vehicle when visiting state recreation lands managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. An annual pass is $30 and the daily pass is $10 (excludes transaction fees). The Discover Pass can be used for two vehicles. The fine for not displaying the pass is $99.
Fee Free Days at State Parks
Washington State offers fee free days at state parks when a Discover Pass is not required. Check Discover Pass for the dates. A pass is still required for access to recreation lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Disability Placards and License Plates
The Washington State Department of Licensing issues disability permits and license plates, and holders of these are exempt from needing the Discover Pass on State Parks lands. Holders of these permits and plates do need to have the Discover Pass to access WDFW or DNR lands. For information about DOL-issued disability permits, visit www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/parking.html.
Oregon State Park Access Fees
Of the hundreds of day-use parks in the Oregon state park system, around two dozen charge a day-use parking fee which is $5 per vehicle. There is also an Oregon Pacific Coast Passport which is a Multi-Agency (Forest Service, National Parks Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department) day use passport that covers entry, vehicle parking and day use fees at all State and Federal fee sites along the entire Oregon Coast.
Also, see the Oregon State/Federal Recreation Passes Guide (PDF) which provides a list of state and federal recreation passes, where they are required, and purchase information.
Trailside with Sally O'Neal
Sally O'Neal is a southeastern Washington native and a weekly contributor to The Sportsman's Guide. Her featured columns include On The Trail Of Sacagawea: Part 1, Kayaking the Yakima River, and Braving The Back Of The Badger. She is also the author of Great Bike Rides in Eastern Washington & Oregon.
Travels with Terry
Travels with Terry is a collection of outdoor travel articles that Terry Richards has written for The Oregonian. He has published articles tagged under:
Books & Maps
Biking & Hiking Books
Day Hiking: Eastern Washington - Kettles-Selkirks Columbia Plateau Blue Mountains
Day Hiking: Eastern Washington - Kettles-Selkirks Columbia Plateau Blue Mountains features 125 day hikes throughout the eastern Washington region. Who better to cover such a large geographic area than long-time eastern Washington expert Rich Landers, partnered with Day Hiking guru Craig Romano?
Older Outdoor Recreation Books
Older books that describe outdoor recreation including bike rides and hiking trips in this region have been published. View some of the examples below:
55 Hikes in Central Washington (1997) explores hiking in the following areas: Yakima, Pot Holes, Wenatchee, Grand Coulee, Columbia River, Snake River, and Umtanum.
100 Hikes in Inland Northwest (2003) covers hikes that are all within a three-hour drive of Spokane, Washington.
Best Desert Hikes: Washington (2004) explores 100 hikes, from short half-day trips (1-5 miles) to overnighters from Spokane, the TriCities, Yakima-Ellensburg, and Wenatchee-Chelan.
Great Bike Rides in Eastern Washington & Oregon (2003) presents 25 road tours that range from two-hour easy jaunts to challenging all-day rides.
Fishes of the Columbia Basin
Dennis Dauble published Fishes of the Columbia Basin which is an easy-to-use guide that includes handy references to fish species, locations of Columbia River tributaries and dams, websites related to fish and fishing, plus 147 illustrations and 16 pages of color plates. To learn more about this book, visit Keokee Books.
Geology - Ice Age Floods
There are two books listed in the Geology - Ice Age Floods section by Bruce Bjornstad that show the best places to hike, bike, drive and fly to see some of the unique geologic features in this region.
The books shown below can be purchased at the monthly meetings of the Washington Native Plant Society - Columbia Basin Chapter (Tri-Cities). For more information about these and other recommended books, visit their bookstore.
Maps & Atlases
Benchmark Maps publishes several maps for this region that are shown below. They are great for locating campgrounds, parks and monuments, wildlife areas, boating and fishing locations, game management units and public lands.