The Seattle summer doesn't seem complete until we pack up the gear, throw on some extra sunscreen, head east over the Mountains towards Ellensburg, and float the Yakima River.
Thing is, our launch-site at Umtanum isn't so secretive, especially on the weekends in the summer. It does have plenty of parking, bathrooms, and room to setup. The popular Washington Discover Pass, a one-time or annual pass that usually lets you park on State lands doesn't apply here though, you'll have to pay a little extra:( Drop off your people and gear here, then take two cars down river to Roza, leave one, and come back.
This is the small launch site at Umtanum, we had to wait in line to launch but it was quick and the people were friendly and having fun. After that, the paddle was on.
I'd love to give you a specific time for this float but there are a lot of factors involved in that number - time of year, how often you stop, whether or not we had a lot of snow, type of boat/tube, etc.
We floated it in late July, 2012, in our Innova kayaks (which were moving a lot faster than all the other tubes, rafts, and boats on the river that day, and we were only paddling to steer). It took us a little less than 3 hours. This being the case we felt like it was a little short, in kayaks anyway, and we'd probably shoot for a longer run next time, probably Ringer to Roza (it's a more catchy title too). If I was tubing it this time of year, the Umtanum to Roza would be perfect.
~Paul, Amber, Keith, Vic ETC
P.S. Here's a link to a great map of the entire route...
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