Cle Elum, WA, United States for River Floating and Swashbuckling

Cle Elum, Washington. Not the first place that comes to mind when you think, “Hey, let’s get outta town for a weekend”. But that’s where you’re wrong. During the spring and especially summer, cruise into town, grab some of the best damn jerky your man mouth has ever encountered at Owen’s Meats, and maybe even a blizzard at DQ (convinced this is the busiest DQ in the country) and hop along to your destination, whatever that may be. There’s an abundance of Air BnB options, a few decent hotels, camp grounds, yurts, whatever.

We spent the evening grilling meats, responsibly drinking beer, playing glow in the dark bocce ball on the lawn, playing cards etc.

You’ll definitely want to float the Yakima river during the day. You can organize a float through Yakima River Tubing, which will get your butts into durable tubes that will float you all 9 miles down river at a “comfortable pace” until you reach Roza Beach after 3 or 4 hours. Definitely bring beer and snacks, or be prepared to trade rations with river pirates for your sustenance. Stop by Wal-Mart and grab some cheap frisbees to use as paddles and some Croakies to keep your sunglasses on your dome piece. Make sure to hug the left hand side of the river bank during the first hour or so in order to make the cliff jumping site. Easy jumps of 15,20,25 ft or somewhere around there.

Afterwards you’ll need to pop into Caboose Bar & Grill on 1st for a Budweiser or a Coors Banquet Beer plus some shoestring fries, and soak up the country music and evening breeze rolling through it’s doors. Beware of old-timey pool sharks.

If you’re looking for a low-key way to spend a weekend in the PNW summer weather, give Cle Elum a shot before shooting off to Chelan or another E Washington destination. It’s close to Seattle (80 minutes no traffic) and at the very least you’ll probably drink too much on a raft, which is always fun.

Insider Tip

Owen’s Meats –, Yakima River Floating –, Caboose Bar & Grill – 115 E 1st St Cle Elum, WA 98922

Where I stayed / started

Pony Hill Ranch

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