About Kittitas County
Kittitas County lies in the mountainous terrain of central Washington with the peaks of the Cascade Mountains forming its western boundary. The Kittetas Valley lies at its center, through which the Yakima River flows. The mighty Columbia River flows along its eastern boundary. The Wenatchee Mountains cover the northern boundary. South of the Kittetas Valley, the mountains rise in massive ridges, starting with the Manastash Ridge, and the Untanum Ridge. The Yakima River cuts a dramatic gorge right through the middle of these ridges
The Cascade and Wenatchee Mountains provide a vast area of beautiful mountain scenery, covered in evergreen forests, dotted in lakes and sculpted by canyons. The valley of the Yakima River, being the most significant of these, boasts 3 long, beautiful lakes, walled in by the forested slops of the mountains: Cle Elum Lake, Kachess Lake and Keechelas Lake. Hiking, camping and boating opportunities are widely available.
The Cascade Mountains, with peaks reaching to 7,959 feet at Mount Daniels, draw heavy snows and rain from the clouds which originate over the Pacific Ocean. After passing over these peaks, storms diminish in intensity, leaving much of the county in what is known as a "rain shadow". Thus the mountains on the south and east of the Kittetas Valley are barren and unweathered compared to the beautiful greenery found on the mountains along the western border.
The Kittitas Valley is home home to most of the county's residents. Ellensburg, the county seat and largest city is found here, along with Kittitas and other small towns. Most of the valley is used for agriculture.
With a land area of 2,333 square miles, Kittitas County is home to 33,362 people. It is served by Interstate 90, which passes east-west through the Kittitas Valley and along the Yakima River westward from there. Interstate 82 begins on I-90 near Ellensburg and heads south roughly following the Yakima River. U.S. Highway 97 heads northward from Ellensburg into the Wenatchee Mountains.