The Walla Walla Valley and neighboring communities are replete with green spaces, trails, paths, water features, sidewalks — places for outdoor recreation. Places for fresh air and beautiful vistas. And spots to safely explore while the coronavirus pandemic continues to require physical distancing.

The city of Walla Walla is host to a variety of parks, an 18-hole municipal golf course, an aviary, a swimming pool with slides and a splash feature, recreation trails, picnic areas, sports fields and one of the oldest municipal cemeteries in the state. All city park hours are 5 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.

An interactive map for city parks is available at ubne.ws/3toxafQ. In addition, a local family started an outdoor recreation site called Outside Walla Walla. Online at OutsideWallaWalla.com are a variety of ideas for local pursuits, some listed below, others farther outside the Walla Walla Valley.

Walla Walla Parks

  • Arthur G. Rempel Nature Trail, Fort Walla Walla Natural Area adjacent to Fort Walla Walla Museum and west of the Jonathan M. Wainwright VA Medical Center, off Myra Road. Walking paths and birding opportunities. More than a mile of trails to explore.
  • Bennington Lake trail system. Kingfisher Trail is 1.7 miles and follows Mill Creek, Meadowlark Trail is 2.6 miles and hugs the lake and crosses a diversion canal, and Whitetail Trail is 4.8 miles and follows an old gravel road and boundary line. Walking, fishing, paddleboarding and kayaking are encouraged. Turn off Tausick Way onto Reservoir Road, and follow to its end.
  • Eastgate Lions Park, 2140 Tacoma St. Access to the Mill Creek Recreation Trail. Parking, restrooms, basketball court, playground, T-ball field and shelter. It is the home of Valley Little League.
  • First Avenue Plaza, First Avenue between Main and Alder streets. A downtown outdoor dining space holding more than 30 tables with chairs and umbrellas. Free Wi-Fi provided by PocketiNet. No restrooms available. Plaza Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. April 1-Oct. 31; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 1-March 31.
  • Fort Walla Walla Park, 1199 Myra Road. Designated picnic areas available for reservation. Playground, sand volleyball court, 70-acre wildlife preserve with streams and a hiking trail, remote-control car and airplane facilities, BMX track, skateboard park, disc golf course and off-leash dog park. Vietnam War Memorial, World War I Memorial, Gold Star Families Memorial, historic cannons, historic military cemetery. Restrooms and parking.
  • Fort Walla Walla Dog Park, 1530 The Dalles Military Road, in Fort Walla Walla Park. Fenced-in area for off-leash canine recreation. Parking.
  • Fort Walla Walla Recreation Trail. Almost a mile of paved trail on the south side of the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center. The trail starts near Fort Walla Walla and ends at West Chestnut Street. A planet walk provides details about the solar system.
  • Heritage Square Park, 116 E. Main St. Picnic shelter, grass area, and “Windows on the Past” art piece. Parking and restrooms.
  • Howard-Tietan Park, 616 E. Tietan St. Playground, baseball fields, soccer fields, restrooms and parking. It hosts the annual Walla Walla Balloon Stampede.
  • Jefferson Park, 750 Sprague Ave. A locomotive on display on its Ninth Avenue side, a playground, streams and youth fishing pond. Restrooms and parking.
  • Menlo Park, 1242 Alvarado Terrace. A playground, T-ball field, large shade trees and tennis court. Restrooms and parking.
  • Mill Creek Recreation Trail, parking at Walla Walla Community College off Tietan Street. Playgrounds, bathrooms, benches and paved path with multiple access points. Wildlife sightings along Mill Creek.
  • Mill Creek Sportsplex, 111 Tausick Way. Three lighted softball fields, two soccer fields, playground, water mister, walking paths and “Drinking & Driving Memorial Walk.” Adult and youth softball and soccer leagues. Restrooms and parking.
  • Mountain View Cemetery, 2120 S. Second Ave. Burials date back to the mid-1800s in its 80-acre grounds. It is one of the oldest municipal cemeteries in the state of Washington. There are more than 1,000 trees on the grounds, many more than 100 years old. Monuments and markers were carved by expert stonecutters who crafted many of the oldest headstones, comprised of marble and granite. Many of the marble statues were carved and imported from Italy. Parking.
  • Murr Sports Park, 2043-2099 Fern Ave., near Walla Walla High School. Paved path, evenly spaced benches around the loop near Yellowhawk Creek. Catch a softball, baseball, or soccer game.
  • Pioneer Park, 940 E. Alder St. The city’s oldest park, circa 1909. Large shade trees over a historical band stand, a wedding fountain, outdoor aviary, cannon from 1885, walking paths, rose garden, ponds, playground, soccer field, softball fields, outdoor pickleball courts and ping pong tables. Restrooms and parking.
  • Veterans Memorial Golf Course, 201 E. Rees Ave. 18 holes designed to challenge the strategy of the expert golfer. Three tees to choose. Parking and restrooms.
  • Veterans Memorial Pool, 505 E. Rees Ave. Outdoor family-friendly aquatic center with activities for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Parking and restrooms.
  • Vista Terrace Park, 925 Mountain Park Drive. Swings, T-ball and soccer fields, basketball court and walking path. Parking and restrooms.
  • Volunteer Park, 80 S. Palouse St. Space Shuttle Challenger and Spanish American War memorials. No restrooms.
  • Walla Walla Skate Park, 400 N Tausick Way.
  • Washington Park, 700 W. Cherry St. Splash pad, playground, stage, basketball court, art wall and soccer fields. Parking and restrooms.
  • Wildwood Park, 21 S. Division St. Walla Walla’s first ADA playground, basketball court, T-ball field and shelter. Restrooms and parking.
  • Xeriscape Park, 607 E. Isaacs Ave. Demonstration garden with drought-tolerant grasses, shrubs and trees and the sculpture “From a Hole in the Earth” by Bill Piper. No restrooms or parking.

College Place Parks

  • Harvest Meadows Park, Harvest Drive and Clover Court, south of state Route 125. Playground set, picnic tables, benches.
  • Kiwanis Park, Third and Date streets, 7 acres. Playground, pickleball courts, basketball court, two restrooms, picnic shelter, benches.
  • Lions Park, Eighth and Larch streets, 7 acres. Garrison Creek runs through it. Lions Club building, picnic shelter, youth fishing pond, restrooms.
  • Veterans Park, Hayden Homes Subdivision, Homestead Avenue, south of Fourth Street. Playground equipment, three benches.
  • West Whitman Drive Path, multi-use route along West Whitman Drive. Safe recreation along a narrow country road for cyclists, joggers and walkers. Small aircraft take off and land from nearby Martin Air Field.

Waitsburg

  • Preston Park, Coppei Avenue and U.S. Highway 12, a block from historic Main Street, Waitsburg. Tree shade, resident owls, playground, barbecue grills for picnics, restrooms, sheltered picnic area. Dogs allowed on leashes. Haul own garbage and waste.

Rural Walla Walla County Parks

  • Frenchtown Historical Site. 8364 Old Highway 12. Open daily dawn to dusk. Admission free. Walking trail, signage, parking, pit toilet. Frenchtownwa.org. Dogs allowed on leash.
  • Rooks Park, Bennington Lake, 10 minutes east of Walla Walla. An 18-acre developed park with shade trees, path to Bennington Lake, paved path by Mill Creek and picnic area. Restrooms and parking.
  • Twin Sisters, 2471 U.S. Highway 730, south of Wallula Junction overlooking the Columbia River in Walla Walla County. Natural geological formation with two basalt pillars. Short hike, 1 mile out and back trail to scenic view of Columbia River. Not recommended for small children. Use caution exiting and entering highway from tight parking space. Hot and exposed in summer. Keep to main trail, private property surrounds the site. Climbing is not permitted by county ordinance.
  • Whitman Mission National Historic Site, 328 Whitman Mission Road. Seven miles west of Walla Walla. Follow the Oregon Trail. Interpretive displays, two walking paths, and benches are spread throughout the natural landscape. Wagon Train ruts are still visible there.

Dayton Parks

  • Caboose Park. On the Dayton Historic Depot site, 222 E. Commercial St., Dayton. Shade trees, playground and benches. Old Union Pacific caboose to observe nearby.
  • Lewis & Clark Trail State Park, 3 miles east of Waitsburg at 36149 U.S. Highway 12, Dayton. The Touchet River park offers campsites, picnic areas, shelters, trails, an amphitheater, fishing, hiking and camping.
  • Pietrzycki City Park, 208 S. First St. Can be accessed by trails/paths and a footbridge across the Touchet River. Playgrounds for toddlers and youth, including swings, play structures and slides. A tennis court, a pickle ball court, drinking fountains, benches, other uncovered picnic areas and public restrooms. Parking on street along South Second Street and in the park parking lot off South First Street. Includes athletic complex with baseball/soccer fields, behind Dayton General Hospital. Also a skate park, juvenile fish pond and 9-hole disc golf course.
  • Touchet Valley Golf Course, 209 N. Pine St., Dayton. This county-owned, 9-hole, public course was built on a dairy farm, and two holes lie in the infield of the Columbia County Fairgrounds. On site is a restaurant and the Dayton Country Club. From the back tees, the course plays over 2,931 yards with a slope of 122 and rating of 35.5.
  • Touchet River Levee Trail, Dayton. Family friendly, easy access, near playgrounds, features art, follows the river, connects to Main Street. Property owners who allow public access on their land make the trail possible.

Starbuck

  • Lyons Ferry State Park, 7 miles northwest of Starbuck off state Route 261. A 168-acre day-use park with more than 52,000 feet of shoreline at the confluence of the Snake and Palouse rivers. Lyons Ferry was named after the Lyons family, who for many years operated the ferry across the Snake River. The ferry service ran from 1860 to 1968, when it was replaced by a bridge.

Milton-Freewater

  • Emma’s Place, 109 NW Fifth Ave., tables, playground equipment, shade trees.
  • Freewater Park, 17 NE Eighth Ave., playground equipment, skate park, tennis courts.
  • Gathering Place, 138 S. Main St., heritage site.
  • Joe Humbert Family Aquatic Center, Yantis Park, 210 DeHaven St. Aquatic recreation opportunities for all ages and abilities. ADA compliant with a zero depth gradual entry access, 25-meter six-lane pool, three-story 170-foot flume water slide, bathhouse, concession stand, covered shelter, sand volleyball court and kids play area.
  • Marie Dorion Park, 82535 Couse Creek Road. Heritage site, picnic facility, picnic shelters and tables, restrooms, walking trail.
  • Memorial Field, 644 County Road, ball fields.
  • Milton-Freewater Golf Course, 301 Catherine St. Tee times required seven days a week, no walk-on players. The golf course clubhouse is home to the Upper 9 Restaurant.
  • Morello Park, 459 Fourth Ave., playground equipment.
  • Orchard Park, 1410 S. Main St. Heritage site, picnic facility and tables.
  • Rotary Sports Complex, 634 County Road, ball fields, restrooms.
  • Yantis Park, 210 DeHaven St., ball fields, band shell, horseshoe pits, picnic shelters and tables, playground equipment, tennis courts, walking trail, restrooms.

Athena Parks

  • Athena City Park, Waterman Road, open from dusk to dawn. Swimming pool access during summer months, including swim lessons. Covered event center must be reserved through City Hall. Shade trees, Memorial Rose Garden, gazebo, picnic tables, kids play equipment.
  • Athena Memorial Ballpark, Waterman Road.
  • Athena Skate Park, Main Street, completed in 2002.
  • Duggar Park, Main Street, across from the post office. Art pieces on display. June-July Tuesday Market, if allowed, with music and produce, crafts, and other items for sale.

Weston Park

  • Elliott Memorial Park, Weston.

Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at 509-526-8313 or annieeveland@wwub.com.

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,

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