Visiting the Yakima Area Arboretum

As the weather begins to change and spring is upon us, it is finally time to stop being cooped up inside and spend some time in nature. After the extreme winter season, I am beyond ready to bask in the sun and enjoy the outdoors — especially at the Yakima Area Arboretum.

With its claim to fame of being the “Palm Springs of Washington,” Yakima sees quite a bit of sun and it was no stranger during my trip to the Arboretum. I spent about two hours walking around and enjoying the beautiful scenery that Yakima has to offer. 

yakima area arboretum
yakima area arboretum
yakima area arboretum

When driving through the city you will see a large sign off the freeway signaling that the Arboretum is not far away. Unlike state parks, this attraction is a non-profit, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that parking was completely free and there was a lot of availability. I went on a Sunday morning and about half of the parking lot was full so the timing isn’t essential if you want more options or a fairly secluded area. 

birds at yakima arboretum

A Walk in the Park

After arriving I noticed there were a variety of different walking paths to start on. I found that all of them eventually connected and I was able to walk the entirety of the park more than once. I read on the website, before my visit, that this was the perfect location for bird watching and it did not disappoint.

While I’m just an amateur bird watcher and didn’t have any special equipment, I was still immersed in the beauty of the different bird species that were present in the area. 


As I continued through my walk I found that there were benches donated by local families and couples scattered throughout the paths where you could sit and enjoy the view. 

One in particular that I enjoyed visiting was within the Japanese-inspired gazebo in the middle of the park. Since it was a warm day I enjoyed the bit of shade and had a perfect view of both the park landscape and a series of mini ponds within the lush surrounding area. 

There were many different natural features and resting spots throughout the Arboretum and each time I walked around the park, I noticed something new and unique to check out.

During my second time, I saw a white gazebo within the middle of a rose garden. Because we were still on the cusp of winter, the roses were not in bloom yet, but if you are planning to visit in the spring or summer, you will be greeted with a variety of different roses throughout the garden. 

pond and bench

Arboretum Events

Something unique about the Arboretum that has attracted me to plan my next visit is they are hosting a variety of safe events on their grounds throughout the month of April 2021. As shown on their website, within the Jewett Interpretive Center located on the park grounds, they will be providing multiple “Native Plants Amongst A River’s Dance” events each weekend of the month. 

These events are a bit more structured with a guide, so if you prefer a more freeform trip, there are maps and plant guides available on their site to keep you entertained and informed of all the different species within the gardens.

So, if you’re looking for something to do in Central Washington that gets you outdoors and in the sunshine, look into visiting the Yakima Area Arboretum. 

For more things to do in Yakima, check out our must-visit food truck and winery stories.

Madeline Wilson

Madeline Wilson is a native Californian who relocated to Central Washington three years ago to attend CWU. She enjoys spending her weekends (and any piece of free time) away from the hustle of school by regularly visiting new parts of Washington state with her friends. Trying as many hole-in-the-wall coffee shops as possible — even without a liking for coffee — is always on her checklist. If all goes according to plan, she will graduate within the next year and continue her passion for writing about the wonderful people and places across Washington.

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