Yakima (YAK-a-ma) is one of the largest cities in Central Washington and the commercial hub for the Yakima Valley. The population includes a rapidly growing Latino community that now represents more than half of the Yakima County population.
Much of the remaining Yakima Valley blends together superbly with an identity of much more recent vintage. Naturally, we’re referring to Washington’s wine country, a string of vintners, many of whom have gained some degree of national or international renown, situated along the Yakima River.
Here, Interstate 82 cuts across the north side of the valley, with the older Highway 22 following a parallel route on the south side. Several small towns dot the route between Yakima and the Tri-Cities; the largest are Zillah, Granger, Sunnyside, Grandview, and Prosser.
The Yakima Valley’s volcanic soil is hard to beat, supporting tons of apples, winter pears, fruit trees, hops, and mint.
Getting to the Yakima Valley
The Yakima Air Terminal-McAllister Field (2300 West Washington Ave., 509/575-6149) is the largest airport in the area. Horizon Airlines (800/252-7522, www.alaskaair.com) provides daily passenger service to and from Sea-Tac airport. Noland-Decoto Flying Service (509/248-1370) and the McCormick Air Center (509/248-1680) are full-service Fixed Base Operators.
Several rental car agencies have desks here as well.
Yakima Transit (509/575-6175, www.ci.yakima.wa.us/services/transit/) serves the Yakima area, including the municipal airport, with Monday–Saturday service.
For local tours, contact Accent! Tours (509/575-3949 or 800/735-0428, www.accenttours.com).
To get out of town or across the country, hop aboard Greyhound (509/457-5131 or 800/231-2222, www.greyhound.com) from its Yakima station (602 East Yakima Ave.). Greyhound also stops in Toppenish (at the Branding Iron, 509/865-3773) and Sunnyside (13th St. and Hwy. 12, 509/837-5344).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition