Discover Ellensburg

Downtown Ellensburg

Ellensburg, Washington is a city of about 17,000 residents located in the central part of the state. It is the largest city and county seat of Kittitas County. Located 108 miles southeast of Seattle on Interstate–90, Ellensburg has a scenic setting at the eastern base of the Cascade Mountains at an elevation of 1,540 feet.

The city is surrounded by hills and mountains with the Stewart Range visible to the west rising to over 9,000 feet. The Yakima River skirts the southern part of the city. Ellensburg has a dry climate, only receiving about nine inches of annual precipitation. The city's western ranch style is a stark contrast to the green, urban environment of the Seattle area, which is less than a two–hour drive to the west.

Central Washington University

Ellensburg is home to Central Washington University, which is also known as CWU or just "Central". Central students comprise nearly half of the city's population. Central has a student enrollment that exceeds 8,000.

It has a well–regarded education program and is home to a Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute. Central competes at the NAIA Division II level of collegiate athletics. As of 2009, Central employed more than 1,800 people and plays a large role in the area's economy.

City and County Events

Ellensburg is also well known for its annual Ellensburg Rodeo, which occur each Labor Day Weekend. The rodeo is a stop on the PRCA professional rodeo circuit. It has been a town tradition since 1923, and is the state's largest rodeo. The Kittitas County Fair, which was first held in 1900, also occurs concurrently in Ellensburg on Labor Day Weekend.

Ellensburg also hosts an annual Jazz in the Valley music festival, which occurs on the last weekend in July. With its convenient location on I–90, outdoor activities, and variety of festivals and events, Ellensburg is one of the best places to travel in central Washington.

Ellensburg farms

Ellensburg has entered national news and popular culture on several occasions. On April 17, 1974, infamous serial killer Ted Bundy abducted Susan Rancourt from Central Washington University's Campus. Two other students reported seeing Bundy around campus prior to the abduction.

Ellensburg is also one of the cities featured in the song "I've Been Everywhere" written by Geoff Mack in 1959 and made popular by the singer Lucky Starr in 1962. Johnny Cash also famously recorded the song. Brian Habib, an offensive lineman who played thirteen seasons in the National Football League, is a graduate of Ellensburg High School.