The Yakima River is a tributary of the Columbia River in south central and eastern Washington State, named for the indigenous Yakama people. The length of the river from headwaters to mouth is 214 miles (344 km), with an average drop of 9.85 feet per mile (1.866 m/km). The river rises in the Cascade Range at an elevation of 2,449 feet (746 m) at Keechelus Dam on Keechelus Lake near Snoqualmie Pass, northwest of Cle Elum.
The river flows through that town, skirts Ellensburg, passes the city of Yakima, and continues southeast to Richland, where it flows into the Columbia River at an elevation of 340 feet (100 m). The Yakima River is used for rafting and kayaking, especially around the Ellensburg area during the summer months. The Yakima River is ranked between Class I and Class II rapids, depending on the circumstances and season.