Vantage sits on the furthermost eastern border of Kittitas County. Located right on the Columbia River, Vantage provides a variety of opportunities to access the outdoors. Outdoor enthusiasts from throughout Washington State come to Vantage for all sorts of water recreation, hunting, rock climbing, hiking, fishing, bird watching and nature exploration. Within a few miles Vantage also has wineries, wind farms, state parks, museums, golf courses and parks. Another feature attraction is the Gorge Amphitheater, which is just 13 miles east of the city across the Columbia River. Each year top entertainers perform there at this top-rated outdoor venue.
Just outside of Vantage is the start of the John Wayne recreational trail. Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian riders travel along the old Pacific Railroad right-away that leads all the way to Easton, Washington.
Right in Vantage there are historic features to check out. The area has numerous well-preserved Indian rock paintings that have been preserved for hundreds of years. Just outside of town on the Old Vantage Highway is the Ginkgo State Park where there is one of the most unusual fossil forests in the world. A series of trails wonder through the arid landscape so you can see them up close and personal. The Ginkgo Museum and Interpretive Center is there providing information about the natural history of this area. The museum is open daily throughout the summer months.
Vantage has a lot to offer and camping is available in several different locations in the area. Take advantage of the amazing natural wonders that are available in and around this area!
Just Northeast of Ellensburg sits the farming community of Thorp, home of the Thorp Mill, Iron Horse State Park and the gateway to a variety of fantastic recreational opportunities. Located just off Hwy 90, Thorp sits right next to the beautiful Yakima River and at the edge of the Cascade Mountains.
The Thorp Grist Mill, built in 1881, is a historic reminder of life in the early 1900’s. Operational until 1946, it is one of the few mills still left in Washington State and one of the oldest industrial artifacts in Kittitas County. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The mill remains an important part of the custom, culture and prosperity of Thorp to this day. Just outside of town lies a landmark that everyone recognizes, the Thorp Fruit & Antique Mall, just off of I-90. Or, if you are looking for a wonderfully relaxing afternoon, rent a raft and float the Yakima River. The Yakima River’s calm class one rapids make it perfect for just a fun outing or a family river adventure.
Or if you are looking for something a little more physical, Thorp has several mountain biking trails; Taneum Ridge Loop, Fishhook Flats or the North Fork Taneum Creek Loop, just to name a few. And don’t forget about the Iron Horse State Park. The park is popular with hikers, bikers and horseback riders. The trail, also called the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, is part of the Washington State Park System follows the route of the Pacific Railroad and goes all the way from Seattle to the Columbia River. But at Thorp it travels along the Yakima River and through the Thorp tunnels, which is an amazing trail through some scenic countryside, past abandoned homesteads, and beautiful farmland.
Check it out and see what you are missing.