Living in Yelm, Washington
The City of Yelm is located in Thurston County, offering residents a peaceful and suburban lifestyle nestled in the Nisqually Valley. The word “Yelm” originated from the native American Coast Salish word “shelm”, which means “heat waves from the sun”, referring to the heat mirages that occurred in the prairie landscapes.
In 1873, the Northern Pacific Railway began operating across the northern tier of the Western United States, putting Yelm on the map when it was discovered as a useful outlet for it’s agriculture and forestry products. Early on the city was known for commercial production of wild berries and produce.
The population of Yelm was 6,848 residents at the 2010 census. At the beginning of the 21st century, Yelm was the 10th fastest growing city in Washington state. The city is located in South East Thurston County, neighbored by the towns of Roy, McKenna, and Rainier. Yelm is located 32 miles from Tacoma, 19 miles from Olympia, and 26 miles from Centralia. The city also hosts a large number of military families currently or formerly stationed at nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Shopping and Dining
Enjoy a variety of options for dining from quick and casual options like Starbucks, Subway, McDonalds, among a variety of fast food choices, to family owned restaurants like Red Lantern Asian Fusion, Mariachi Alegre, and Young’s Teriyaki.
Popular spots around town include the Yelm Cinema movie theatre and Prairie Lanes bowling alley.
Schools and Transportation
The Yelm School District includes 6 elementary schools: Fort Stevens, Lackamas, McKenna, Millpond, Southworth, and Yelm Prairie. Yelm’s secondary school system includes Yelm Middle School, Ridgeline Middle School, Yelm High School, Yelm Extension School, and also offers a private school for grades K – 12 at Eagle View Christian School.
Yelm is located near the major transportation routes of Interstate 5 and State Routes 507, 510, and 702.
Parks and Recreation
The City of Yelm maintains a robust park system available for the use and enjoyment of the entire community. From parks featuring stunning views of Mount Rainier, to tranquil walking trails and a lively sport complex for both indoor and outdoor sports.
A number of annual community events are held at Yelm City Park including Prairie Days, Christmas in the Park, Family Fun Day, Yelm’s annual car show, and Lion’s Club Easter Egg Hunt.
Yelm has a first class A, state of the art Water Reclamation Facility and Distribution system, which reclaims all wastewater for local irrigation use and to recharge local streams. The water is also used at Cochrane Park, an 8-acre wetland park with a popular catch-and-release pond for Rainbow Trout.