Yakima Sportsman State Park is an exciting urban camping spot along the Yakima River that offers plenty of activities and 67 campsites. Located in the urban center of Yakima, Washington, the 266-acre state park was originally founded by the Yakima Sportsman’s Association during the early 1940s and transferred to the state in 1945. The state park resides in a lush green area that includes wetlands along the shoreline of the Yakima River. The state park is very popular with RV campers attending events at the nearby Yakima Sun-Dome and fairgrounds.
The area surrounding Yakima Sportsman State Park was the ancestral homeland of the Yakama Indian Tribe. The tribe first encountered settlers at the confluence of the Yakima and Columbia Rivers during the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition. Conflict between settlers and the Yakama Indian Tribes began with the Yakima War of 1855. After the treaty of 1855, the tribe was regulated to a nearby reservation. The city of Yakima was founded in the 1860s with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad in the area.
Today, Yakima Sportsman State Park is an urban oasis of greenery within an otherwise arid climate. There are plenty of activities to explore including hiking along the wetlands and Yakima River, fishing in the river and several children friendly fishing ponds, kayaking, and horseback riding along the shoreline of the river. The campground features 67 campsites including 37 campsites with full hookups for RVs, campers, and trailers.
The weather at Yakima Sportsman State Park is ideal in the summer time with temperatures in the high 80s with minimal rainfall per month. Winter time has temperatures in the high 30s accompanied by up to one inch of rain per month.
RVs and larger rigs can access Yakima Sportsman State Park at the intersection of University Boulevard and Gun Club Road within the urban center of Yakima. Traveling northwest along State Highway 24 you will navigate a four lane highway that is generally congested throughout the day especially during times of rush hour. The highway contains a few curves that should not pose any problems for you. If you are uncomfortable on the state highway use the pull-outs and shoulder to allow traffic to remain at a steady pace.
Once inside the state park you will encounter congestion in the campground area which is four loops connected by one road. Other places of concerns within the state park include the numerous day use areas that will be congested at most times. Bicycling within the state park is the best mode of transportation after you setup camp. While driving within the state park please adhere to all posted speed limits and share the road with pedestrians, horseback riders, bicyclists, and children playing near the campground.
The Yakima Sportsman State Park Campground is situated along four loops connected by one road, and contains 67 campsites including 37 campsites furnished with full hookups. The 37 campsites with full hookups include 16 pull-through and 21 back-in. The campground is located in a lush green area with plenty of trees for shade and privacy. Each campsite has a fire ring, picnic table, and paved parking pad which may or may not require leveling. RVs are limited to 60 feet in length and not all campsites can accommodate larger rigs. There is a dump station near the entrance to the state park. Rigs are encouraged to fill their water tanks when dumping their holding tanks. Do not dump full holding tanks at campsites that have sewer hookups. Other facilities within the campground include grass and sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, a children’s playground, flush toilets, showers, and water spigots. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained by a six-foot leash at all times. The campground is closed yearly from November until March.
Make sure you have your rod and reel in your rig because the fishing at Yakima Sportsman State Park is fabulous. Adults will enjoy dipping their line in the Yakima River where there are opportunities to catch cutthroat trout, catfish, walleye, and several species of salmon in the spring time. Children can take advantage of the children-only Cool Lake which is stocked monthly with catchable trout. There is also fishing available at Duck Lake which can be accessed by both adults and children. Please check the Washington state fishing regulations for bag and size limits.
Hiking is a popular thing to do in Yakima Sportsman State Park for RV campers. Bring your boots or hiking shoes in your campervan and take advantage of the more than three miles of trails. There is an excellent interpretive trail with signage that explains the ecosystem and wildlife of the state park. The trail is associated with the Juan A. Alvarez Outdoor Living Classroom. Another great hike is along the Island and River Trails which follow the shoreline of the Yakima River and offer views of the wildlife within the state park.
Everyone visiting Yakima Sportsman State Park should bring their binoculars in their camper to indulge in some superb bird watching. The state park resides in a prominently wetland area with more than 140 species of birds that migrate to the area throughout the year. Viewing from a distance you can expect to see several species of ducks, herons, hawks, tree swallows, cedar waxwings, California quail, black-headed grosbeaks, and red-winged blackbirds. Each season brings different bird species which makes the state park an ideal birding place all year round.
Water sports at Yakima Sportsman State Park are plentiful with lots of options for you to try. If you can bring your kayak or canoe on your rig, you can launch from many sites located along the Yakima River that are accessible from day use areas and the campground. While on the river, you can enjoy wonderful scenery when you are paddling. Many paddlers will take advantage of their water craft for fishing or finding that perfect picnic spot next to the river.
You can pull your horse trailer behind your rig and enjoy more than three miles of horseback riding trails. There are two trails where horseback riding is permitted. The Levy Trail follows the shoreline of the Yakima River which affords great opportunities for wildlife watching. The Island Trail can be linked with the Levy Trail providing horseback riders with a great loop trail to enjoy all the benefits of the state park’s beauty. There are no horse corals for stabling but there is plenty of parking for an additional horse trailer.
There are a plethora of campground games to enjoy while you are camping at Yakima Sportsman State Park. The lush green campground is perfect for playing korn hole, flying kites, throwing a frisbee, and lawn darts. Other campground game options include horseshoe pits, a children’s playground, and volleyball courts. When you are finished you can indulge in a beverage and watch the sunset with pastel colors filling the sky.