From Olympic medalists and legendary professional athletes, to Little League and outstanding class B through AAAA school sports programs, the Yakima Valley is a sports-lover’s dream. With athletic programs for everyone from pee-wee soccer players and aspiring young athletes to seniors, there’s something for everyone
Sports Facilities, Golf Courses, and Swimming Pools
The Yakima Valley abounds with community parks providing families with quality sports facilities for all ages. Newly built softball and baseball parks like the Gateway Complex at Kiwanis Park in Yakima, Carlon Park in Selah, and Sunnyview Park in Sunnyside are hosts to many tournaments throughout the season and are just a few of the many baseball fields throughout the region.
Tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, and skate parks dot the Valley in well maintained, family-friendly parks. Several Yakima Valley cities organize teams and tournaments for all ages, in addition to hosting a variety of summer camps teaching children the basics of their favorite sports.
Organized Sports and Events
Yakima hosts several marathons and other competitive events each year. Marathons draw competitors from around the Northwest and the annual springtime Gap2Gap Relay hosted by the Yakima Greenway Foundations is a community favorite. This relay draws participants from throughout the area to compete in running, biking, and kayaking from Union Gap to Selah Gap. Teams of every age participate, making it fun for the entire family. Junior Gap2Gap participants even enjoy rollerblading along the Yakima Greenway’s walking and bike path.
There are many Little League Baseball teams from Naches to Grandview, Yakima Youth/American Legion baseball, and the Greater Yakima Girls Softball Association which offer opportunities for kids from eight to 18. Consider Grid Kids Football, AAU basketball, Team Yakima volleyball, YAC and YMCA swim teams and the Yakima Youth Soccer Association for other kids programs.
Adults have plenty of programs to choose from too—Yakima Adult Soccer, La Liga Mexicana soccer program, adult softball leagues, and the Hard Core Runners Club of Yakima, which sponsors six events annually.
As soon as Eastern Washington evenings grow crisp and cold, the anticipation for snow begins. Through winter months, area trails are transformed for snowshoeing and skiers head for mountain passes.
A 1,500-foot vertical drop and more than 350 inches of annual snowfall make White Pass Ski Resort a haven for Nordic and alpine skiers and snowboarders. With more than 30 downhill trails, a terrain park, and an 18-kilometer network of marked, groomed trails for cross-country skiing, White Pass serves hard-core skiers and snowboarders, racers and families.
You’ll find 11 more ski resorts within a few hours’ drive, all offering excellent downhill and cross-country skiing From Cowiche Canyon to alpine lakes, numerous trails are open for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, some groomed and some for backcountry outings. Clear Lake, the Boulder Cave Sno-Park, and areas of the Pacific Crest Trail are popular destinations.
Check area sno-parks for information about snow levels, parking, and the availability of groomed trails for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and other snow play. The Yakima Valley Ski Club located at White Pass provides a place to avoid crowds and to share friendship with other avid skiers.
Whether you’re an adventure lover or like to take it easy, eastern Washington waterways provide perfect escapes from springtime through late fall.
For thrill seekers, the Flip Flop on the Tieton River promises nonstop whitewater action on the fastest-moving, fastest-dropping river in Washington. Each September, water released from Rimrock Lake to serve irrigation needs in the Yakima Valley rushes down through the Tieton River and into the Naches River, creating one of the state’s best whitewater runs for kayakers and rafters, with class III to IV rapids.
You can also try the Matthew Creek to Little Naches Campground section of Little Naches River for a 9½-mile stretch of class III to IV whitewater. Choose the Yakima River for a leisurely summertime float through the Yakima River Canyon. Perfect for group retreats and family outings, numerous access points allow you to choose floats ranging from TK to TK miles.
Save your motorized water vehicles for the river’s Roza Recreational Site. A short drive takes you to Rimrock Lake on White Pass for boating, sailing, kayaking, waterskiing, or even windsurfing. Just a bit further away, you’ll find windsurfing and kiteboarding for the entire family in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Sign up for windsurfing camps for kids and clinics for adults.
Winding waterways stretching from the dense forest slopes of the East Cascades past miles of rugged hillsides and 109 fishing lakes dotting Yakima County make this a fishing paradise.
Yakima County is a mecca for outdoorsmen (and women!) interested in pursuing wild game. Elk and deer hunting are very popular and the region boasts one of the more significant herds of Rocky Mountain Elk in Washington State.
Every fall, elk and deer hunters congregate to take their best shot at elusive prey. Hunters can also go after bear, cougar or bighorn sheep in the mountains west of Yakima.
Bird hunting is also extremely popular in the Yakima Valley. Hunters can find Chukar, quail, pheasant, duck, geese, waterfowl and even Merriam’s Turkey within the region. Each year folks prowl the woods, prairies and waterways to scare up birds whose habitat includes Yakima County.
The Yakima Valley has an active hunting community. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and the Safari Club all maintain active local chapters. There are also a number of local archery, rifle, and hunting clubs.
Cycling & Mountain Biking
Whether you prefer the road or the trail, biking in the Yakima Valley takes you through orchards in bloom and vineyards and hop fields in harvest, over scenic ridges and through rugged canyons. Cowiche Canyon’s Uplands Trail is considered some of Central Washington’s best mountain biking.
Bike through wine country, along Yakima’s Konowac Pass, on the Wine and Fruit Challenge route, or try the Lower Yakima Valley Pathway for a 14-mile trip from Sunnyside to Prosser. This trip is part of the Rails to Trails conservancy, creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines. Consider day trips for rides on Chinook Pass and White Pass and in Mount Rainier National Park.
You’ll find equestrian horse events, rodeos with cowboys, and much more right here in the valley. With trails meandering along rugged hillsides and through high country pine groves, the Yakima Valley and nearby mountain destinations offer idyllic escapes for horse enthusiasts.
Several outfitters offer rentals and guided rides, whether you’re looking for a serene journey around area lakes and through scenic meadows, more challenging excursions to explore alpine ridges or overnight pack trips. You can even find guided horseback tours of wine country with stops along the way to visit favorite wineries.
If you prefer the solitude of riding on your own, you’ll find that several area trails cater to horseback riders, offering riding camps and facilities. The William O. Douglas Wilderness Area and the Pacific Crest Trail offer ideal destinations for breathtaking scenery and wildlife viewing.
The Cowiche Canyon is a favorite nearby destination. The Lower Valley Yakima Pathway offers a 14-mile ride through wine country from Sunnyside to Prosser.
You’ll find opportunities to share your passion for horses through organizations that serve children with special needs to equestrian clubs that offer resources, rides, and shows for all styles of riding.
The Yakima Valley is home to the professional sports team the Yakima Valley Pippins, a west coast wood bat league, that took to the field for the first time in 2014.