Our son was at his grandparents today. My wife and I drove over to Yakima last night, she had to work and interview a prospective employee for the store here. Usually my son and I head for the hills or go to the parks and Museums around here when my wife has to work. He doesn’t like having to “just drive around”. Since he wasn’t with us this time I decided I would drive Hwy 24 from Yakima to the Columbia River, then up to Hwy 26 at Vantage and it made me thing about adding a Blue Highways segment to by blog. I think that would be a good excuse to go camping and take some nice scenic drives this summer.
So I guess this is the first installment of Blue Highways. I refer to Blue Highways as the secondary highways on the road map, or the State Routes and US Routes, as they are usually blue compared to the red of the Freeways and Interstates.
So back to it. I drove Washington State Route 24 from Yakima to the Columbia River, then up to Hwy 26 at Vantage. It passes through the rolling hills and farm land of East Yakima County to the Hanford Reach National Monument/Saddle Mountain Wildlife Refuge and the USDOE Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Here it junctions with SR 241 to Sunnyside to the south.
I continued north to the Columbia up to Priest Rapids Dam and Wanapum Dam. SR 24 continues on to Othello, so I took SR 243 along the Columbia to SR 26 at the Vantage bridge and Interstate 90. This was the only Interstate portion of my trip and the only way across the Columbia river from here.
From Vantage I took the Old Vantage Highway to Ellensburg. Along this route you can stop at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest visitors center and interpretive trails. From Ellensburg I took Canyon Road to SR 821 along the Yakima River through dramatic canyons. This area is a fly fisherman’s paradise and is even very active this time of year. This was the final leg of the trip and brings you back to Interstate 82 at Selah and into Yakima.
This would be a good summer drive with the family as there are many interpretive centers and historical museums along the way. It is also difficult to match the beauty of this stretch of the Columbia River.