6 Quintessential Cle Elum Experiences | Cle Elum, WA

From humble beginnings as a rugged mining and logging town nestled in the mountains of Central Washington, Cle Elum has evolved into an epicenter of adventure, creativity, and connection to the natural world. Home to up-and-coming restaurants and art galleries as well as century-old businesses and historic landmarks, adventure is always nearby when you're in our charming area. Enjoy a mix of it all in order to really soak up the rich culture and history of our town during your visit. Here are six quintessential Cle Elum experiences to guide your itinerary as you plan an epic escape to our home in the mountains.

Dine at MaMa Vallone's

MaMa Vallone's was established in 1986 by two brothers, Joe and Dennis Vallone, and continues to hold their family history today. The restaurant aims to remind its customers of old Italy and emphasizes its Italian roots, reminding diners of childhood memories of going to grandma's house for a special dinner or holiday feast. The charming steakhouse is famous for its Bagna Cauda appetizer, a cast iron skillet of bubbling olive oil, butter, garlic, and anchovy served with a large bowl of fresh vegetables and assorted meats for you to cook! From romantic date nights to family celebrations, MaMa Vallone's holds the cherished memories of diners from near and far, making it one of Cle Elum's most treasured local experiences.

Explore Coal Mines Trail

Coal Mines Trail is a mellow hike from Cle Elum to Roslyn and even on to Ronald if you'd like to venture even further. This trail is great for all types of hikers and offers visitors a glimpse of the old mining activity that was once abundant in the area, offering views of different coal mining remains. Built upon the old Northern Pacific Railway, the trail passes several mine sites which can be identified using interpretive signs placed along the way. Accessible from the heart of downtown Cle Elum, the trail is enjoyed by those on foot, bike, horseback, and even snowmobile or snowshoe in the winter! Not only is this a favorite feature of our mining town, but it also allows you to explore our neighbors in Roslyn, another must-see Central Washington destination.

Play at Cle Elum Lake

Just eight miles northwest of Cle Elum, Cle Elum Lake is a favorite destination for locals and travelers alike. Nestled in the surrounding mountain ranges, the area offers a picturesque backdrop for a variety of lake activities. Camping, swimming, and boating are all very popular, and the lake has an abundance of fish to challenge anglers. Test your skills on a kayak or paddleboard and pack a picnic to soak up sunny days at this Pacific Northwest paradise.

Shop Owens Meats

Almost 135 years and five generations have seen Owens Meats through its success in Kittitas County. Bringing quality meat to the tables of the Cle Elum community and its visitors, Owens Meats upholds a family tradition of hard work and dedication, which began with a series of tragedies for the original store. First located in downtown Roslyn, the business experienced a devastating fire, the Great Depression, and a coal miner strike before finding its way to the current Cle Elum location in 1937. As the nation prospered following World War II, so did Owens Meats. The market built its own packing plant in Cle Elum in 1946-which is still used to this day for custom meat and game processing-and adapted to changing shopping patterns to sell meat retail in the early 1980s. The move was met with great success, resulting in the Owens name becoming famous around the country for quality and taste. Now, visitors flock to the historic meat shop on First Street or journey through Washington State to hunt down one of the shop's 14 Meat Machines.

Carrying on the family name and business for more than 100 years, the current owners are still very aware of the tradition they represent. As reminders of who they are and where they came from, they make sure your visit is memorable, offering quality service as you taste some of the best meats in the Northwest. On any given day, you will surely be greeted with a smile and maybe even a good joke from one, two, or three generations of the Owens family! A historical time capsule, the red brick building is a staple in Cle Elum, making Owens an essential experience for those pulling off the highway to explore our mountain town.

Stay at Suncadia Resort

Suncadia is a world-class resort with a wealth of year-round activities that make for a perfect Pacific Northwest escape. The resort offers attractions of interest for every type of traveler, featuring over 40 miles of hiking and biking trails, three championship golf courses, local wining and dining, and a world-class spa. Suncadia also offers three distinctive choices in hotel, inn, and home lodging which is perfect for all occasions, from family vacations to romantic getaways to group retreats. Enjoy the resort's on-site activities, then take a short, two-mile drive down to Cle Elum for even more diverse options for dining, shopping, and attractions.

Visit Cle Elum Bakery

Family-owned and operated since 1906, Cle Elum Bakery has deep ties in the local community. In 1947, the bakery was purchased by the Osmonovich family, who continue to run the bakery today. Holding to tradition, they still use the original brick oven, some knives and tools that date back to the early days, and recipes that have, for the most part, remained the same. From French bread and donuts to cookies and pies, stopping to enjoy the fresh-baked goodies is a beloved tradition for travelers passing through the state. The consistency and dedication of this establishment make it one of the most valuable to the Cle Elum community and its guests.


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