The Yakima River is a favorite place for tubing during the summer, and a great place to cool off when temperatures top 100°F. Much of the 40-mile stretch between Cle Elum and Roza Dam is a relaxing float, but you need to watch for dangerous logs in the water.
For specific put-in points and hazardous areas, check with the Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce (801 S. Ruby St., 509/925-2002 or 888/925-2204, www.ellensburg-chamber.com). The most popular run is the 15 miles from Teanaway Bridge (below Cle Elum) to the diversion dam; it generally takes five to six hours.
Rent rafts and kayaks in Thorp, or schedule a guided tour at Rill Adventures (509/964-2520, www.rillsonline.com). Try its magical Full Moon Floats on the “Yak” with snacks and light beverages ($40).
The river is also a productive fly-fishing hole for beautiful, fat rainbow trout, and few can get you outfitted more thoroughly than the delightfully named Worley-Bugger Fly Co. (306 S. Main St. #3, 888/950-3474, www.worleybuggerflyco.com). The experienced guides offer full-day and half-day tours starting at $300.
Swim at the Ellensburg City Pool (815 E. 6th Ave., 509/962-7211, $4.50 adults, $2.30 seniors, $2.30 kids 17 and under for nonresidents), where you’ll also find a sauna, fitness center, and hot tub.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition