Twenty miles west of the city of Yakima, stunning vistas await where the East Cascades Mountain range collides with the arid hills of the Columbia Basin. Find basalt cliffs, oak trees, bighorn sheep, rattlesnakes and golden eagles.

A visit any time of the year provides incredible scenery and recreational opportunities and this region has it all – driving tours, hiking, camping, rafting, birding, hunting, fishing and even feeding wildlife!

Previously this region was a fragmented landscape due to the checkerboard pattern – a historical legacy from the 19th century policies of Congress. Working with local partners, the Conservancy has protected 10,000 acres within the Tieton River Canyon and helped make a fragmented landscape into contiguous landscape of protected habitat.

Additionally, if you have a bit of extra time, the nearby Yakima Valley offers countless activities throughout the year such as visiting wineries, Farmer’s markets, festivals, the Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center, Central WA State Fair.

Some must-visit places include:

The Oak Creek Wildlife Area 

  • This area protects 42,000 acres of critical habitat for Rocky Mountain elk, bighorn sheep, golden and bald eagles and many other animals. Visit the interpretive center and see elk and bighorn sheep up close by participating in the winter feeding program.

Take a driving tour 

  • U.S. Highway 12 winds through the heart of the Tieton River Canyon and experience the dramatic scenery of its steep hillsides and basalt cliffs.

The Bear Canyon Trail 

  • Explore a 3 mile trail with shrub-steppe and forested hillsides along a beautiful riparian area.

The Tieton River Trail 

  • Hike along the Tieton River for 4 miles and take in the dramatic scenery.

The Cowiche Canyon Trail 

  • Follow the Cowiche Creek through a beautiful canyon, for a 3.2 miles trail (one way) with minimal elevation gain.


Written by Noelle van deer Straaten, Volunteer.