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School of Graduate Studies and Research

Ellensburg and Region

Central WashingtonCWU's main campus is in Ellensburg, Washington. Ellensburg is at the heart of Washington State, nestled in the Kittitas Valley. We enjoy diverse cultural and scenic fare.

Each season here offers something new, but with plenty of sunshine all year round: Ellensburg boasts nearly 300 sunny days annually.

Outdoor recreation enthusiasts flock to Ellensburg throughout the year. It is only 20 minutes from the beautiful Cascade Mountains and the Wenatchee National Forest for hiking, downhill and cross country skiing, fishing, camping and more. CWU is about 25 miles from the Columbia River, an awe-inspiring natural wonder and a playground for water sports. The Yakima River cuts its way through the stunning local scenery of the Kittitas Valley, where hiking, camping, skiing, bicycling, fishing, horseback riding, river rafting, fly fishing and other sports are a way of life. No matter what your favorite form of outdoor recreation is, finding it close to Ellensburg is easy.

Less than a two-hour drive to the west is Seattle with its many attractions, including historic and colorful Pike Place Market, the Pacific Science Center, Pioneer Square, museums, gardens, shops, book stores, and restaurants for all tastes and budgets. Yakima, 30 minutes to the south, is the center of the state’s fruit industry and offers an interesting assortment of dining, shopping, and cultural opportunities. Only 35 miles from Ellensburg, across the Columbia River, is The Gorge Amphitheater, where popular artists perform in outdoor concerts all summer long. Spokane, with its cultural events and restaurants, is less than three hours to the east.

Students snowshoeing in the Cascade MountainsCentral Washington University provides students with many opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty of the Central Washington area. CWU's Outdoor Pursuits & Rentals guides students on hikes, ski and snowshoeing trips, river floats, and much more, as well as offering discounted rentals on camping gear, kayaks, boats, inner tubes, climbing gear, and much more.

The University is four blocks north of historic downtown Ellensburg, and most shops and restaurants are within walking distance. The city and campus are highly accessible by wheelchairs, bicycles and strollers. The Ellensburg community prides itself on quality living, and students experience a friendly and safe small-town atmosphere.

Several galleries in Ellensburg, including the Clymer Museum, feature art of the Western U.S., while others specialize in contemporary art. Hallmarks of Ellensburg in summer are its Jazz in the Valley festival and the County Fair and Labor Day Rodeo, fourth largest in the United States. Those interested in books will keep busy visiting the half dozen or more shops selling new and used books and magazines. Because of the many antique and collectibles shops here, Ellensburg is a collectors’ haven. Above all, visitors and those who come to stay find it a friendly and hospitable place.

Downtown Ellensburg

Read more about what the Central Washington region has to offer you as a graduate student at CWU.