South Central Washington- The Fruit Bowl of the Nation
With a heritage that’s as rich as the land, the South Central region of Washington is known for bountiful vineyards and orchards in a serene setting dominated by Yakima Valley and the Yakima Indian Reservation.
Land in Yakima Valley is a fertile accomplice to the area that is known as the ‘fruit bowl of the nation’. The Johnson Orchard, one of the first in Yakima, has been in operation since 1904. A local favorite, the orchard produces apples, cherries, and pears- among others and bakes these into delicious pies and treats. Many of the area orchards and farms are stocked with fresh produce and crafts in gift shops that are worth visiting. You’ll want to stop by Washington Fruit Place at Barrett Orchards and Gilbert Orchards for unique gifts and savory goods.
In Yakima the SunDome radiates at the center of Central Washington’s State Fair Park. A multi-purpose arena that hosts sports and large concerts, the Yakima SunDome seats over 6,000 spectators or up to 8,000 attendees for special events. In addition to the Central Washington State Fair every September, the SunDome also hosts many Washington state athletic championships and is home to the annual SunDome Volleyball Festival in the Fall.
In downtown Yakima concert and street fairs abound. In the historic North Front Street District, the Roots & Vines Festival kicks off the summer in May bringing in headlining bands, quality local wineries, breweries and distilleries. In late August the Yakima Blues & Brews Bash takes to the streets offering premiere blues music and craft brews. Other annual events in the area includes the three-day Chinook Fest which brings together music and nature at outdoor venues in Chinook.
If you are looking to explore the culture of South Central Washington, the Yakima Valley Museum provides information on natural history and American Indians. Exhibits chronical early pioneer life and development of the fruit industry in Yakima Valley.
Fort Simcoe sits on a 200-acre park and brings history to life through preserved 19th century buildings and events. The site contains natural springs and served as an outpost for the United States Army in the 1850s. In 1859 it was turned over to the Yakima Indian Agency and converted into a school. Today, five original buildings still stand, and others have been added to re-create one of the earliest forts in Washington.
Beautiful Alpine meadows and glacial peaks can be found in mountains surrounding Yakima Valley. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest offers phenomenal trails through scenic passes. You can get up close with a cave at Boulder Cave on the eastern edge of Mount Rainier National Park or take it easy on a stroll through a meadow at Snow Mountain Ranch, just north of the Yakima Indian Reservation.
Master the winter at White Pass, the area’s largest ski and snowboarding area. Perfectly situated to offer majestic views of Mount Rainier, White Pass is 50-miles west of Yakima. In addition to multiple trails, the family-friendly ski resort offers Twilight Snowshoe Tours, a tubing hill, and child care.
For a quirky twist on South Central Washington, the Teapot Dome Service Station in Zalla is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Apple Orchard in Washington
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South Central Washington From the Road
Exploring South Central Washington on a motorcycle makes it easy to stop off at the many orchards, vineyards and breweries on roads near Yakima Valley. When headed north past the Yakima Indian Reservation on I-82 you may want to fuel up at one of the quirkiest attractions in the area. The Teapot Dome Service Station in Zalla is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.