About Outdoor Recreation

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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

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Visit the author's blog, Events, Attractions & Things to Do in Tri-Cities Washington, for a weekly list of things to do and more in the Tri-Cities area.


Aquatic Tour of the Columbia - October 11 (register by October 5)

The REACH

The REACH in Richland is offering an aquatic tour of the Columber River in October. For more information, visit: http://www.visitthereach.org/tours.html. Follow us on Facebook


Archery & Shooting Associations

Archery and Shooting Range

Several shooting and archery associations are located in Tri-Cities, Hermiston, Milton-Freewater, Moxee, Waitsburg, and Walla Walla.

Tri-Cities

Colyak Bowhunters

The Colyak Bowhunters is affiliated with the Washington State Archery Association and maintains an archery range located at the W.E. Johnson Park in Richland.

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

Hermiston Gun Club

The Hermiston Gun Club is a shotgun trap shooting range, open to members and non-members.

North East Bow Hunters

The North East Bow Hunters is a family friendly archery club that offers four 3-D shoots each year.

Milton-Freewater - East End Rod & Gun Club

The East End Rod & Gun Club was created in 1947 for the promotion of the conservation of our natural resources, hunter safety education, the relations between sportsmen and landowner, and shooting sports among the citizens of our community. Follow us on Facebook

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.

Walla Walla

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. Follow us on Facebook

Walla Walla Gun Club

The Walla Walla Gun Club is dedicated to trap shooting and has 18 trap fields and one skeet field.

Other Associations

More associations in this region can be found using the following resources:


Bird Watching, Native Plant Identification & Wildlife Viewing

North Leslie Groves Natural Area North Leslie Groves Natural Area in Richland

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."

Audubon Societies and Birding Organizations

Several Audubon Societies and other birding organizations serve this region that conduct bird censuses, field trips, and education programs. In addition, they are involved in conservation projects.

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 - Pendleton

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

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife provides information about the Irrigon Wildlife Area (near Hermiston) and the Willow Creek Wildlife Area (Pendleton).

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 - Walla Walla

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. Note: The Walla Walla City Council voted in February 2014 to close this aviary within the year. Friends of Pioneer Park Aviary are working hard to keep it open.

Washington Audubon - Great Washington State Birding Trail

On February 19, 2009, Washington Audubon announced the addition of the Sun and Sage Loop to the Great Washington State Birding Trail. This new addition encompasses Southeast Washington.

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.

Tri-Cities

Cycling Tri-Cities Map

Cycling Routes

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 2014 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. Follow us on Facebook

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. Follow us on Facebook

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. Follow us on Facebook

Walla Walla

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 Maps

Bike route maps for the Walla Walla region are available online:

Mountain Bike Guide to the Blue Mountains

Mountain Bike Guide Book Cover

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

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.

Some of the other mapping related websites to explore include Trimble Outdoors and Google Bike Maps.

Sharing Our Trails: A Guide To Trail Etiquette

Here is a good guide on Sharing Our Trails: A Guide To Trail Etiquette.


Boating, Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing, Scuba Diving, Wakeboarding & Water Skiing

Kayaks at White Bluffs Kayaks at White Bluffs - Photo by Dave Goeke

Thanks to the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima Rivers, there are plenty of water sports to do that include boating, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, wakeboarding, and water skiing in the Tri-Cities region.

Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing, Scuba Diving & WakeBoarding Clubs in the Tri-Cities

There are several canoeing, kayaking, sailing clubs, scuba diving, and wakeboarding clubs in the Tri-Cities area that include:

Atomic Ducks Dive Club

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. Follow us on Facebook

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 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. Follow us on Facebook

Tri-City Riders - Wakeboarding

The purpose of Tri-City Riders is to help people get involved with the sport of wakeboarding, to wakeboard better, and to wakeboard more. Follow us on Facebook

Yakima Dive Club

The Yakima Dive Club is another scuba diving club in this region that is based out of Yakima.

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.

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 boating recreation overview and map for Lake Sacajawea (map) and Lake Wallula (map).

Map - Boat Launches & Docks - Tri-Cities

Thanks to three rivers, the Tri-Cities provides many places for boat launches and docks. Here is a map of some of the popular boat facilities in the Tri-Cities.

Select each placemark in the map to read the description of the place, provided by Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.


View Tri-Cities Boat Launches in a larger map

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.

Places to Paddle

Columbia Kayak Adventures has published a guide to Places to Paddle. Their descriptions include launch points, routes, distances, and lots of photos. The guide covers the Tri-Cities, Lower Columbia River, and the San Juan Island areas.

Recreation.gov

You can search for boating recreational sites maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers or the National Forest Service at Recreation.gov.

State Parks

There are several state parks in this region that offer a variety recreational opportunities:

  • Hat Rock - (9 miles from Umatilla) - day-use, boating, fishing, hiking
  • Potholes - (17 miles from Moses Lake) - day-use, boating, camping, water skiing, kayaking, hiking, fishing
  • Sacajawea - (5 miles from Pasco) - day-use, boating, water skiing, fishing, hiking
  • Wanapum - (near Vantage and closed until further notice) - day-use, boating, camping, hiking, fishing

Tapteal Water Trail - Tri-Cities

Tapteal Greenway has completed the Tapteal Water Trail for paddlers which is intended to mirror the land side Tapteal Greenway Trail through the lower Yakima River, beginning and ending at almost exactly the same locations. The Tapteal Water Trail begins at Benton City Landing near the Conoco station in Benton City and counts mileage downstream before ending at Bateman Island – a distance of slightly over 30 miles.

Washington State and Oregon State Boating Information

Washington State Boating Information

The Washington State Parks Boating Program is portal for information on boating laws & regulations and boater safety education, including a free online paddle sports safety course.

Also, the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office has published a boating information portal where 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, and home study option. Your Boater Education Card is good in other states and Canada that have mandatory boating education requirements.


Camping

Bookcover Camping with the Corps of Engineers Camping with the Corps of Engineers is available from Cottage Publications

Camping opportunities are available in the Tri-Cities region.

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 overview and map for Lake Sacajawea (map) and Lake Wallula (map).

Washington State Parks

There are several Washington State parks in this region that offer camping opportunites:

Make an online reservation or check the availability of any of the parks listed above through the Washington State Parks Reservation System.

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.

Free Guide to Northwest Camping

The Free Guide To Northwest Camping is a free guide to both privately owned and publicly owned (state, county and federal government) campgrounds. The editors of the Free Guide To Northwest Camping do not specifically endorse any of the campgrounds listed in this site. Not every available campground is covered in this free camping guide. Many of the privately owned and operated campgrounds do not allow tent camping. If in doubt, call the campground first.

This guide provides camping infomation for Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon.

Other Campgrounds

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.

The 27 mile long Yakima River Canyon, between Ellensburg and Yakima, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management - Spokane District. This canyon has four recreation sites that allow camping: Big Pines, Roza, Umtanum, and Lmuma Creek. See brochure / map (PDF).

Recreation.gov

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 where you can find detailed camping information for Hood Park, Fishhook Park, Charbonneau Park, and Windust.


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

Recreational Trails Collage

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, paddling and horseback riding. Note: these organizations are always looking for volunteers to help with their ongoing projects!

Tri-Cities

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, several trails have been created created: Skyline Trail - 3.0 miles (hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders), Canyon Trail - 1.3 miles (hikers), Sagebrush Trail - 0.6 mile (hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders), Badger Flats Trail - 0.4 mile (hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders) (see Access and Trails). Follow us on Facebook

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. Follow us on Facebook

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.

In addition, this organization supports local field trips and educational activities.

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.

Partnerships include:

These organizations also participate in the Ridges to Rivers Open Space Network.

Tri-Cities (continued)

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. Follow us on Facebook

Tapteal Greenway

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.

Two of the major major preserves this organization is responsible for creating and maintaining are the Amon Basin and the Chamna Natural Preserve. This organization also created the Tapteal Water Trail for paddlers. Follow us on Facebook

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.

Yakima

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. Follow us on Facebook

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). Follow us on Facebook

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

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:


Fishing & Hunting

Fishing on the Yakima River Photo by Scott Butner

Fishing and hunting opportunities are available in the Tri-Cities, Moses Lake, Pendleton, Walla Walla and Yakima areas. For additional information on fishing and hunting opportunities, 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:

Blue Mountain Fly Casters - Pendleton

The Blue Mountain Fly Casters serves Umatilla County and holds fly tying sessions, fly casting clinics and enjoys the sport of fly fishing. They meet in Pendleton and Hermiston.

Blue Mountain Pheasants Forever - Walla Walla

The Blue Mountain Pheasants Forever is engaged in upland game bird hunting and wetland restoration and enhancement in the Walla Walla and Columbia Counties and the cities of Walla Walla, Dixie, Touchet, Prescott, Waitsburg, and Dayton, Washington.

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.

Columbia Basin Pheasants Forever - Moses Lake

The Columbia Basin Pheasants Forever is engaged in upland game bird hunting and wetland restoration and enhancement in the Moses Lake area.

Oregon Hunters Association - Columbia Basin Chapter - Pendleton

The Columbia Basin Chapter of Oregon Hunters Association is one of the state's newest OHA chapters. We do projects and host events in Umatilla County. We are very family and community oriented. As examples, we host a popular youth archery event and assist at youth pheasant hunts. We have a successful annual fund-raising banquet that funds our efforts.

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 Northwest Game Recipes website. Follow us on Facebook

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.

Fishing & Hunting Clubs - continued

Walleye Anglers Unlimited - Tri-Cities

The Walley Anglers Unlimited is a fishing club that was formed in the Tri-Cities to promote the sound and ethical sport of walley fishing, and to enhance and preserve the walleye population through education and resonable biological findings.

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.

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

For weekly fishing, hunting and wildlife reports, view the ODFW Recreation Report and the WDFW Weekender Report.

Family Fishing

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

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 Wallula Gap Hiking Wallula Gap - photo by George Meriwether

Hiking and climbing opportunities are available in the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, and Yakima areas. 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.

Hike TriCities.com

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.

Outdoor Adventurers - Tri-Cities

Outdoor Adventurers is for anyone who is interested in outdoor activities. Our meetups include, but are not limited to activities such as hiking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, camping, and backpacking.

Rock Climbing

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.

The Cascadians - Yakima

The Cascadians is an outdoor recreation and conservation club located in Yakima. Activities include hiking, backpacking, climbing, skiing, bicycling, kayaking, and rafting (see Outings Calendar).

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.

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

Horseback Riding Logos

Horseback trail riding opportunities are available in the Tri-Cities area.

Backcountry Horsemen of Washingtion

There are several Backcountry Horsemen of Washingtion chapters in the Tri-Cities area 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), Madame 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).

Horseback Trail Riding - Umatilla National Forest

The Umatilla National Forest offers a variety of trail systems for back-country horse riding. To avoid encounters with motorized travelers, check out their trails in any of the designated Wilderness Areas located on the Forest. Note: The Pomeroy Ranger District and Walla Walla Ranger District are the closest to the Tri-Cities.

Horseback Riding Clubs - Tri-Cities

There are several horseback riding clubs in the Tri-Cities area that are listed on the Hobby, Recreation & Social Groups section of this website.

Red Mountain Trails - Guided Horseback Trail Rides

Red Mountain Trails offers guided horseback trail rides through the vineyards on Red Mountain. They offer trail rides on weekends, holidays, and by appointment. They even have sunset rides for couples. Follow us on Facebook

Tri-Cities Horse Calendar

View the Tri-Cities Horse Calendar for a list of horseback riding clubs, resources and events in the Tri-Cities area.

Sharing Our Trails: A Guide To Trail Etiquette

Here is a good guide on Sharing Our Trails: A Guide To Trail Etiquette.


National Monuments, Refuges, State Parks & Umatilla National Forest

Juniper Dunes by Terry Richard Juniper Dunes Wilderness Area - photo by Terry Richard

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
  • Recreation.gov

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 Monument

Photo 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. Also, a trip report about the Hanford Reach National Monument was published by Seattle Backpackers Magazine.

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.

View the recreation overview and map for Lake Sacajawea (map) and Lake Wallula (map).

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:

State Parks

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.

Recreation.gov

You can reserve a camping spot at any park maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers or the National Forest Service online and/or obtain a list of other recreational areas of interest at Recreation.gov.


Northwestern Outdoors Radio

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! Follow us on Facebook


Outdoors Expo & Sportsmen Show - Tri-Cities

Sportsman Show

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 logo

REI, a sporting goods store in Kennewick, sponsors a series of outdoor related clinics and events in the Tri-Cities region.


Sacagawea Heritage Trail - Tri-Cities

Sacagawea Heritage Trail map

The Sacagawea Heritage Trail is a recreational and educational trail along twenty-three miles of beautiful Columbia River shoreline in the Tri-Cities that has been created for bicycle and pedestrian use (see map).


Snow Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross Country Skiing, and Sno-Parks

Group riding a ski lift Photo by Kim McIntyre

Snow skiiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, and sno-park opportunities are available in Southeast Washington & Northeast Oregon.

Snow Skiing & Cross Country Skiing - Bluewood & Spout Springs

Downhill and/or cross country skiing activities are available at Bluewood, located near Dayton, WA, and Spout Springs, located near Tollgate, OR.

Sno-Parks

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.

Tri-Cities

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.


State Parks Day Use Fees

Washington State Discover Pass

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

Guide Outdoors

Sally O'Neal is a southeastern Washington native and has been a weekly contributor to Guide Outdoors from Sportsman's Guide since 2000. Some of her featured columns include Kayaking the Yakima River. She is also the author of Great Bike Rides in Eastern Washington & Oregon and several other books.


Travels with Terry

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 Washingon

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:

bookcover for Inside Out Washington Inside Out Oregon: A Best Places Guide to the Outdoors (1998) by Terry Richard
book cover for Inside Out Washington Inside Out Washington: A Best Places Guide to the Outdoors (2001) by Ron C Judd

bookcover for 55 Hikes in Central WA bookcover for 100 Hikes in Inland Northwest bookcover for Best Desert Hikes bookcover for Great Bike Rides

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

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.

Wildflower Guides

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.

bookcover for Northwest Arid Lands bookcover for Sagebrush Country bookcover for Washington Watchable Wildflowers bookcover for Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest

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.

bookcover for Benchmarks Washington Road & Recreation Atlas bookcover for Benchmarks Washington Recreation Map bookcover for Benchmarks Oregon Road & Recreation Atlas bookcover for Benchmarks Oregon Recreation Map

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