Gateway to the Cascades
Motorists passing through Naches would do well to make sure they leave the confines of U.S. Highway 12 to complete their exploration of the area.
Besides a downtown that features several small shops worth a stop, Naches — a town of about 800 residents — can also be considered something of a base camp for side jaunts to the Nile Valley and Chinook Pass, as well as the Highland suburbs of Cowiche and Tieton.
Naches puts plenty of energy into its Sportsman’s Days community fest, which runs from Sept. 9 to 11 this year. The event, billed as one of the longest-running of its type in the Yakima Valley, includes a midway, sand carving, a parade and free entertainment.
The neighboring Nile Valley Days, held each July, offers up a touch of what it might have been like to live in the region back in the day when timber was king. City residents can try at throwing an ax before, or after, they scarf down a piece of pie.
Farther up U.S. Highway 12 and State Route 410 sit Rimrock Lake and Chinook Pass, popular both for outdoor recreation or a scenic round trip for dinner at Whistlin’ Jack Lodge or one of the other restaurants along the route.
For those who want to keep their ventures closer to home, swinging over to Tieton or Cowiche offers a chance to check out these small communities.
Tieton, in particular, is pushing to become better known to the tourist crowd. The town square includes Vicki’s Tieton Cafe, which draws a regular lunch crowd and its own version of a coffee klatsch.
The Mighty Tieton organization continues its efforts to draw artists and boutique businesses to the area, as well as scheduling a variety of events.
For more information about Naches, call 509-653-2165 (RJ’s Tires — ask for Randy) or visit www.nachesvalleychamber.com. For information about Tieton, call 206-321-2982 or visit www.mightytieton.com.
— Mark Morey