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The Columbia River Plateau is a region of Washington bordered by the Columbia River.

Columbia River


Map of Columbia River Plateau

The "Tri-Cities Area" consists of Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco, set at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia rivers.

Interstate 82 follows the Yakima River. Interstate 182 crosses the Columbia River. Interstate 84 follows the Columbia River to the south. The farmland consists of grapes, wheat, apples, and many other crops. The Rattlesnake Hills are to the south of the valley. Residents commonly use Highway 240, which is adjacent to the Columbia River, to travel between Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco quickly.

South of the Rattlesnake Hills is the Columbia River Gorge on the border with Oregon.


Adams County[edit]

Tri-Cities Area, Franklin County, and Benton County[edit]

Douglas County[edit]

Grant County[edit]

Klickitat County[edit]

Mount Adams as seen from the Yakima Valley
  • 13 Goldendale (county seat of Klickitat County)

Lincoln County[edit]

  • 14 Davenport (county seat of Lincoln County)

Walla Walla County[edit]

Yakima County[edit]

Other destinations[edit]

  • Whitman Mission National Historic Site, (Visitors Center) 328 Whitman Mission Rd, Walla Walla, +1 509 522-6360. Daily 9AM-4PM. The 1847 Whitman "Massacre" horrified Americans and impacted the lives of the people of the Columbia Plateau for decades afterward. See under Walla Walla#Go next..
  • Daroga State Park, 1 S Daroga Park Rd. (on Lake Ential, 6 mi (10 km) north of Orando), +1 509 664-6380. Daroga State Park is a 90-acre camping park with 1.5 miles of Columbia River shoreline on the elevated edge of the desert "scablands." The park features camping activities and water-sport access in a unique and beautiful outdoor environment. Lots of sunshine combine with water activities to make this desert park a delight to visitors. The nationally recognized Desert Canyon Golf Course is just two miles away.
  • Norman A. Welch Memorial Speedway, in Connell
  • Palouse Falls State Park, 23 miles southeast of Washtucna
  • The Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Road N.W. (go 7mi/11km north along Silica Rd, from Exit #143 along I-90.), +1 509 682-6262. M-F 9AM-3PM (hours can vary if there's a concert scheduled). A 20,000-seat outdoor concert venue, just off I-90, in the charmingly-named tiny town of "George, Washington". Beautiful sunsets. Price varies depending on who's playing.
  • Rock climbing at Frenchman Coulee.
  • Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (off Interstate 84 or on the Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon Highway 30), +1 503 695-2372. The Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains in this gorge, many km long. The Multnomah Falls are a particular attraction.
  • Doug's Beach State Park, 79 Highway 14, Dallesport (on SR 14 about 5 km (3 miles) east of Lyle), +1 509 773-3141. 6:30AM to dusk (summer), 8AM to dusk (winter), open year-round. A day-use park on the Columbia River, a great location for windsurfing. Between Murdock and Lyle.
  • Columbia Hills State Park, 85 Highway 14, Dallesport WA 99617 (along State Route 14 at milepost 85, 9 miles west of Wishram), +1 509 767-1159, toll-free: +1-888-226-7688. Apr-Oct: 6:30AM to dusk, closed in winter. A park on the Columbia River's north bank, under Horsethief Butte. A short ways north-east of The Dalles, Oregon. Previously known as Horsethief Falls State Park.
  • Waitsburg Horse Race Track, Waitsburg County Fairgrounds on East 10th St Waitsburg, +1 509 337-6623.
  • 18 Grand Coulee Dam
  • Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park (7 miles SW of Coulee City). At the foot of Dry "Falls. Offers camping and lakefront shoreline. During the last ice age, Dry Falls occasionally carried more water by volume than all the rivers of the world combined (known as the Missoula Flood).
  • Climb Steamboat Rock, and hike in Northrup Canyon.


The Columbia River Plateau region consists of Adams, Benton, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Klickitat, Lincoln, Walla Walla, and Yakima Counties.


The primary language is English. With a high number of Hispanic migrants living in Yakima, Pasco, and the surrounding rural areas, Spanish comes as a second language for the region.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Portland International Airport have international flights and domestic flights with most major airlines. Both are about 2-3 hours from this region by car. There are two smaller airports in this region also have commercial air service (although limited): Yakima Airport and Pasco Airport.

By car[edit]

  • From Seattle: Take I-90 east to I-82, east of Ellensburg, which leads into the heart of this region. From Spokane one can go west on I-90 to US Hwy 395 in Ritzville and go south into Tri-Cities.
  • From Portland or Boise: Take I-84 to I-82 in Hermiston. If coming from Portland one can also go north on US 97 into this region, from The Dalles to I-82 south of Yakima.
  • & are the main east-west highways through this region. I-82 connects Ellensburg at I-90 to I-84 south of Hermiston in Oregon. US Hwy 12 goes across from Chehalis (from Exit 71 of I-5) to I-82 in Yakima. US Hwy 12 goes concurrent on I-82 from Yakima to Tri-Cities and then continues east of Tri-Cities to Walla Walla.
  • is the main north-south highway along the western edge of the Columbia River Plateau. It goes north south from The Dalles to Yakima, Ellensburg and Wentatchee.
  • is the other north-south highway towards the eastern side of this region. It goes from I-84 south of Hermiston along I-82 to Tri-Cities. From Tri-Cities it goes northeasterly towards I-90 in Ritzville through Othello. Continuing north it goes east along I-90 to Spokane and going south from Hermiston it goes along I-84 towards Pendleton.

By train[edit]

Amtrak's Empire Builder stops in Pasco (on the Portland branch) and Ephrata (on the Seattle branch).

Get around[edit]


  • Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge, (Administration office) 64 Maple St, Burbank, +1 509 546-8300. A 14,000-acre wildlife refuge straddling the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. The main refuge entrance, located on the McCormack Unit, is 10 miles (16 km) south of I-84 at the end of Paterson Ferry Road. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only. The Boardman Unit can be accessed from the Tower Road Exit (Exit 158) off of I-84. The Whitcomb Island, Ridge and Paterson Units can all be accessed from Washington State Highway 14. Please access the refuge only from designated public access areas.
  • Crown Point Overlook State Park (from state route 155 in Grand Coulee, take the turnoff to Bridgeport (state Route 174), drive two miles north, look for a sign 'Crown Point Vista'). The best spot for viewing the Grand Coulee Dam.


  • Tour the massive remediation projects and the historic B Reactor on the Hanford Site, formerly home to one of the United States' largest nuclear weapons production facilities.



Stay safe[edit]

The Columbia River Plateau is generally safe. The biggest risk in the Columbia River Plateau is rattlesnakes, don't touch them.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Columbia River Plateau is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!