Get Out and Enjoy Nature

Published: June 2, 2022

Get Out and Enjoy Nature

June is Great Outdoors Month, a great reminder to get outside and enjoy the beautiful natural areas in and surrounding the Yakima Valley. Spending time in nature is good for your physical and mental health.

“There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human well­being,” says Lisa Nisbet, PhD, a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. And that doesn’t mean wilderness—just spending time outside can improve your mood. Urban parks and trees can provide the same benefit as a wilderness area.  Studies have shown that simply hearing the chirp of birds, the burble of a stream, or the rustling of tree branches can have a calming effect on our minds and bodies and improve cognition.

Here are just a few of the ways you can get outside and enjoy nature this month.

  • The Yakima Greenway is 20 miles of paved pathways for walking and biking. It connects several smaller paths between parks, popular fishing lakes, river access landings and a variety of protected natural areas. The path has several restrooms but bring a water bottle—there are large stretches of the path with no drinkable water.
  • Cowiche Canyon Uplands is a relatively easy 3.3 mile loop trail outside of Yakima. It is popular for horse riding, walking, and biking and features beautiful views and peeks of Mt. Rainier. You can even bring your dogs, if they are on an leash. Remember to bring sunscreen and a hat, as this dry, rocky trail doesn’t offer much shade.
  • Try fishing on the Yakima River! The Yakima River is one of the best places to go fly fishing for rainbow trout and westslope cutthroat trout in Washington. Because the river is managed by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are regulations in place about where and how you can fish, and the daily limit. Be sure to check the rules before you head out. If you aren’t an experienced fisher, there are many places on the river that offer lessons.
  • Alongside the Yakima River’s riparian zone is another one of our area’s treasured natural areas, the Yakima Area Arboretum. It is a great place to enjoy the quiet of nature and the mood-boosting effect of that activity. Highlights of this 46-acre natural area include a giant sequoia collection, butterfly garden, trails, ponds, wildflowers, and the Jewett Interpretive Center, where you can learn more about the collections in the arboretum.

We hope you get an opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of nature during Great Outdoors Month, and all throughout the year.