The town of Cle Elum sits about two-thirds of the way between the cities of Spokane and Seattle, which act as bookends for the state's east and west sides. Though only a short drive from the latter, Cle Elum is separated from Washington’s most populous city by the mighty Cascade Mountain Range. As such, you’ll find a very different culture in Cle Elum; one defined by agriculture and small-town living rather than the hip cafés and trendy nightlife of Seattle.
Choosing to book an RV in Cle Elum, WA can be a great experience as you avoid the stereotypically dreary climate of the Puget Sound area while still having access to the beautiful mountains that the Pacific Northwest is known for. Additionally, should you decide that some big city entertainment will be part of your experience in Cle Elum, the metropolis is only a short drive away. You may want to use public transportation to get around the city, as parking can be quite challenging.
The Great Outdoors
Being so close to the many wilderness areas of the Cascade Mountains, you’ll never be short of great places for outdoor recreation when you rent an RV here. One of the most obvious choices is Mount Rainier National Park, the closest national park when you get a travel trailer rental in Cle Elum, and also one of the most popular in the country. While summiting Mount Rainier is an adventure best reserved for the most experienced climbers, the trails that surround the mountain are perfect for any skill level. Just be sure to make your camping reservations in advance as sites quickly fill up during peak season.
For something a little more low key, visit the Swauk Forest Discovery Trail just outside of town. It will only take a couple of hours at most and the trail is dotted with informative signs explaining various natural sites along the way. There are also several outfitters operating out of Cle Elum that can take you on horseback riding and kayaking adventures if you’re up for it.
RV Parks near Cle Elum
Thanks to the tourism potential of the nearby Cascade Range, when you choose an RV rental in Cle Elum, you’ll have plenty of choices for where to camp with it. One of the nearest places is the Whispering Pines RV Park, just south of town along the Yakima River. It has easy access to Interstate 90 and full hookups for your motorhome rental in Cle Elum. There’s also Wi-Fi, but who needs screen time when there’s such beautiful scenery nearby? Another option is the Trailer Corral RV Park not too far east on I-90. It also has full hookups and is far enough off the highway that you should be able to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.
For a luxury stay a bit farther from town, try Sunrise Resorts on Lake Easton is another option. They have amenities including full hookups, a swimming pool, and a billiards table in the lounge. If you’d prefer to spend more time in nature with your camper rental from Cle Elum, take a trip north to the Teanaway Community Forest, which has a campground nestled along its namesake river. None of the sites have hookups, but there are fire rings and toilets available. There’s also a Walmart in nearby Wenatchee where you might be able to stay for a couple of nights with the manager’s permission.
Exploring the Town of Cle Elum
One of the first places you’ll want to check out here is the South Cle Elum Rail Yard Historic District. From its founding in the late 1800s until the middle half of the last century, Cle Elum was known for being the final stopping point for trains readying themselves to cross the rugged Cascade Mountains. The historic rail yard has mostly been converted into commercial space, but it’s fun to take a walking tour around all the old buildings and imagine what life was like for the community’s first residents. When you’re finished pondering those earlier days though, there are a number of delicious restaurants to enjoy nearby.
To catch a flick, head over to the town of Roslyn for a movie at their historic one-screen theater. While the facilities aren’t the most modern, it doesn’t really matter as long as the popcorn’s hot and you’re in good company. If you enjoy small quirky museums, you’ll definitely like the Cle Elum Telephone Museum. The town was one of the last to upgrade from the manual switchboard that was used to connect customers from the invention of the telephone up until the 1970s. While not related to the telephone, there are also a few interesting coal-mining artifacts from the town’s earlier days.