Spring is here, and we have budding trees and flowers to prove it! We finally put up our snowshoes, and Ski Bluewood went out with a bash. It was a great year for winter sports, but alas it is time to transition. The snow is still hanging around in the mountains, so here are ten things to do outside right now. After you pick an activity (and we hope you pick many), make sure to read the full post before you go for more specific information.
Arthur G. Rempel Nature Trail
The Arthur G. Rempel Nature Trail at the Fort Walla Walla Natural Area adjacent to the Fort Walla Walla Museum and west of the VA Medical Center is another spot that provides in-town outdoor recreation. This pocket of nature offers walking paths and birding opportunities. With over a mile of trails and many different paths to explore, this trail feels longer than it really is. Choose your own adventure, and perhaps you’ll spot a Great Horned Owl or Red Fox. Next time you are wanting to put off errands, give the Arthur G. Rempel Nature Trail a try.
Fort Walla Walla Recreation Trail
Enjoy almost a mile of paved trail on the south side of the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center. The trail starts near Fort Walla Walla and ends at West Chestnut Street. As an added bonus, have fun learning a little about our solar system via the planet walk. The Fort Walla Walla Recreation Trail Planet Walk was created by the 2007 Sherwood Trust Community Leadership Class with support from many other community organizations and businesses. This walk really puts things in perspective.
South Fork Walla Walla Trail
South Fork Walla Walla Trail continues to top the list of favorite, nearby places get outside. Whenever we have company in town who have never experienced the Blue Mountains or if we just want to stretch our legs and listen to running water, this is the spot. The word iconic comes to mind. Just a short drive southeast of town, the trail is excellent for all members of the family. Overall, a wonderful way to experience the outdoors while visiting the valley, and locals are fortunate to have such great access to outdoor recreation activities so close to home.
After years of living in the area, it is easy to get used to having the Columbia River just down the road. In reality, this historic, geologically fascinating area deserves a visit from time to time. Though slightly outside of the Blue Mountain region, the Twin Sisters hike offers expansive views of the Gorge, so pull over next time you are en route to I-84 and enjoy.
There are eight lakes that make up the Tucannon Lakes. These lakes were created to supplement lost fishing opportunities from damming the Snake River. Stocked with rainbow trout, these lakes are great for young and old, new to the sport or seasoned angler. Nestled in the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area, these lakes not only provide fishing opportunities, but a chance to enjoy the outdoors. In just a little over an hour from town, visitors can easily wander the lakes in search of the big one. Don’t forget to grab a cup of coffee in Waitsburg on the way out or perhaps a bite in Dayton on the way back.
Public Fishing Areas in the Walla Walla Valley
As part of the US Army Corp of Engineers’ mission, recreation is a significant piece of the services that agency provides to the community. In our community, and with regard to fishing, that translates into a handful of managed access areas to the Walla Walla and Touchet Rivers, Mill Creek, and Bennington Lake. These Public Fishing Areas in the Walla Walla Valley offer convenient access for purposes of a quick morning outing before work or chores, or a kid-friendly family option that doesn’t require all the planning and logistics of more distant destinations.
Lick Creek Trail
The Lick Creek Trail beginning near Corporation Trailhead offers hikers the opportunity to gain access to the mountains relatively early in the spring. The ascent into the North Fork Umatilla Wilderness offers stunning views, and Lick Creek is not far from the trail, providing soothing sounds of running water. Sidehilling open slopes mixed with shaded, forest sections keep the trail interesting. Don’t forget to stop and smell the wildflowers.
Thanks to a group of local, engaged elementary students, Palouse Falls is the official state waterfall of Washington. Dropping roughly 180 feet, Palouse Falls is a must see attraction. Yet another geologically interesting location, it is truly an impressive feature of the landscape. The park offers multiple views of the falls and many interpretive signs to enrich the experience.
This is about as local as it gets for outdoor activities. Bennington Lake is located on the east side of town near Walla Walla Community College, locals and visitors alike are treated to stunning views of the Blue Mountains kissed by rolling fields of wheat. This is a great place to get a little exercise, take the dog for a walk, or escape the city without really having to leave. With so many different activities available, there is something for every member of the family.
Lyons Ferry State Park
Based on the name, Lyons Ferry State Park, it shouldn’t surprise you that there was once a ferry that operated the crossing of the Snake River, and if the obvious stick hasn’t hit you yet, it was operated by the Lyons family. What might shock you is the fact that the ferry operated from 1860 all the way through 1968 when the bridge was constructed. The Lyons Ferry State Park commemorates many historical features of the area in addition to offering loads of outdoor fun.
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