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Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own." - Charles Dickens

Columbia County Attractions

Parent Category: Washington Counties
Created: 11 April 2014

Population: 4,032

Area: 874 square miles

County Seat: Dayton


Columbia County is located in the southeastern part of Washington State. The county is the third-least populous county in the State. The largest city is its’ county seat Dayton, which is known for the historic preservation of the city’s downtown. Its’ name the county received after the Columbia River.

Columbia County is bordered by the Snake River and Whitman County to the north, the Oregon State to the south, Walla Walla County to the west and Garfield County to the east.

The county was created out of Walla Walla County in 1875. The main industries are agriculture and food processing, ranching and logging also play an important role in the economy of the county. Columbia County is known for growing asparagus, green peas and especially wheat.


Originally the land near the lower part of the Snake River was inhabited by Palouse bands and people who spoke Sahaptin (Nez Perce, Walla Walla, Umatilla, Yakama and Wanapum). The Blue Mountains were home to the Nez Perce people. Horses played the main role in the lives of these people.

First settlers tried to establish cattle and sheep ranches throughout the county, but harsh winters didn’t allow making this industry dominant.

The first wheat farms were also established with the first settlers and very quickly began to dominate. The development of the technologies made the wheat growing process easier, which resulted in the growth and development of the industry.


Dayton is the largest city of Columbia County with the population about 2.5 thousand people. The city was officially incorporated in 1881 and received its’ name for Jesse Day. Dayton is situated at the junction of the Touchet River and Patit Creek. The city is proud of its’ historic downtown, which was perfectly preserved. Dayton is also known for the oldest train depot in the State of Washington and for the oldest continuously used courthouse.


Umatilla National Forest

Umatilla national Forest is a 1.4 million-acre forest in the Blue Mountains with diverse nature and landscapes. The word “Umatilla” from Indian means “ water rippling over sand”. Three wilderness areas are found in the Forest: the Wenaha-Tucannon, the North Fork John Day and the North Fork Umatilla. The wilderness areas stretch down into canyons and gorges from high plateaus. A great number of recreational activities are available at the Forest, including hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, riding Off Highway Vehicles, rafting, etc.

Even driving in a car, you can enjoy the scenic beauty of Umatilla National Forest. You just need to drive the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway. Keep in mind that this Byway is not accessible in winter due to the snowfalls.


Historic Dayton Pathway

This historic pathway is located in the center of Dayton, it takes its’ visitors along Commercial Street, starting at S. 2nd Street and continuing to N. Front Street. The pathway takes you back in the day and passes the Historic Dayton Depot, Caboose Park, Smith Hollow School, etc.

Lewis and Clark Trail State Park

Lewis and Clark Trail State Park is a 37-acre park, which is located several miles west of Dayton. The park offers great recreation opportunities as it has 1,333 feet of shoreline on the Touchet River. Fishing and swimming are allowed in the park. The park also features beautiful old-growth forest.

Flour Mill Park

Flour Mill Park is a small and comfortable park located in the downtown of Dayton, which also borders the Touchet River. It is a perfect place for a picnic or lunch. The Touchet River walking and biking path starts in the park and takes visitors to Pietrzycki Park.

Bluewood Ski Area

Bluewood Ski Area is one of the most popular winter recreation areas located near Dayton in the Umatilla National Forest. This is also the second highest recreational base in the state. Average annual snowfall is about 300 inches. The mountain offers nearly 400 skiable acres with 24 trails, 3 Terrain Parks, amazing tree skiing areas, snow-cat accessible terrain.

For more info visit http://www.bluewood.com/

Information: Marina Petrova

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