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Looking for a way to beat the summertime heat? Then float the Yakima River! Grab your buddies and a cooler, and then head into the towering basalt cliffs of the Yakima River Canyon for a lazy cruise down one of the most scenic spots in the Yakima Valley!
GO WITH A GUIDE!
Want to take a float down the river, but don’t want to worry about the details? Rill Adventures provides full service between the Big Horn campsite, 6 miles south of I-90, and the BLM Big Pines recreation site. They know the river well, and can help you pick the perfect time to float depending on what type of experience you’re looking for. Make sure to call ahead and reserve your float time, because they book up fast. They also have raft rentals available, from 4-person up to 10-person, plus tubes and inflatable kayaks. And they can handle all the transportation logistics, including transporting your group to the drop-off area, and picking you up when you’re done.
TAKE A TRIP ON YOUR OWN!
Bringing your own tubes or rafts? Make sure you have two cars, one to drop off at your end point, and one to haul your crew up to where you want to put in. There are a number of access points along the lower Yakima River Canyon. Most groups start at the Umtanum Recreation Area boat ramp, and then end their trip at the Roza Boat ramp. This makes for an 8 mile float, which is a solid three to four hours on the river. If you need to a shorter trip, there are other several other areas where you can exit the river, such as the Lmuma Creek Recreation Area.
Bring your cooler, picnic items to nosh on and enjoy the river as it cuts through majestic volcanic basalt cliffs and sagebrush covered mountains. Take a break along the way to swim or picnic on the banks of the river. Watch eagles soaring above, elk, deer, and bighorn sheep on the mountain slopes. Don’t forget plenty of sunscreen!
MAKE A WEEKEND OUT OF IT!
In addition to many BLM campsites along the Yakima River Canyon, there is a convenient and gorgeous, lodge and restaurant to enjoy. Canyon River Ranch Lodge features a great room with massive stone fireplace, library, game room, outdoor terrace, outdoor pool and spa, making it the ideal place to stay. Let the Canyon River Grill pack you a lunch to go or just stop there for lunch during your float.
What better way to beat the heat than spending the day on the river? Happy floating!