Parkapalooza: Parks in Pullman

Pullman peppered with parks offering nature, relaxation, time with friends.



Sunnyside Park is one of many parks near the WSU campus

ISABELLE BUSCH, Evergreen reporter, columnist

With September comes the tentative promise of more temperate days. One of my favorite months, it is the perfect mix of cool mornings for hiking, sunshine for picnics and clear skies for stargazing. 

More than 20 parks and natural areas are scattered throughout town. No matter what outdoor activities you enjoy, Pullman’s parks are sure to deliver the perfect setting. 


“I like to go to Sunnyside Park and play softball,” said Alex Gee, senior wildlife ecology and conservation science major. “It’s peaceful, and it’s not very busy a lot of the time.”

On campus, McGee Park offers basketball courts only an eight-minute walk from the Chief Joseph Apartments. 

Many intramural sports host their games at the Valley Playfields, a seven-minute walk from both the Student Recreation Center and Nez Perce Village. If you are downtown, visit the City Playfields or Kreugel Park for a soccer, baseball or volleyball match. 


Sunnyside Park’s open fields are perfect for picnicking. Classic park ducks like mallards are a sure sight, no matter the time of day.

In northern Pullman, Military Hill Park is the main draw; it boasts all the amenities expected of a park, as well as an area for outdoor barbecues and celebrations.


Phoenix Bennett, senior wildlife ecology and conservation science major, recommends Reaney Park.

“I go there to study, and there’s a lot of activity all the time,” said Bennett. “It’s convenient for me.” 

The large fields and trees of Reaney Park are only a 12-minute walk from the Compton Union Building. With a friend, your day will surely improve, and so may your grades. 

Thompson Flats, the grassy area outside the Honors building, is another popular study spot on campus. Beware of the squirrels, though, as it is definitely their turf.

Scenery & Wildlife

For a leisurely stroll, my favorite downtown destination is the Pullman Riverwalk. It follows the winding South Fork of the Palouse River, so you will be sure to spot wildlife like birds and rabbits. 

It is an especially dazzling path at night when bridges twinkle with string lights and the glow of downtown Pullman glimmers through the trees. Perfect for a date night.

If you live west of downtown, visit Itani Park for a short loop filled with native plants. Conservation Park echoes the natural form of the Palouse, with gravel trails perfect for a run or walking your pup. 

Megan Carver, junior computer science major, frequently visits the WSU Arboretum. 

“I like the greenery, and it’s just far enough away from campus that there’s a really nice view,” Carver said.

You can also walk or bike up to the Palouse Ridge Golf Club, which hosts the lovely but little-known Jerry Newbrey Memorial Trail. It spirals up Round Top, a proud hillock that boasts panoramic views of the Palouse. 

Sunsets & Stargazing

“Pullman’s really beautiful, if you just get outside of campus a little,” said Owen Wilson, sophomore mechanical engineering major who prefers the outskirts of town as the sun goes down. 

Whelan Cemetery is also a great vantage point for the glow of the sun and the stars. Spared from the majority of civilization’s glow, it is only a ten-minute drive from downtown. 

However, Eastern Pullman’s most popular stargazing destination is Lawson Gardens. Its terraced lawns make it popular for daytime celebrations, but thanks to relatively low light pollution, it is a superior stargazing setting. It truly shines at night.

As the days grow shorter and the weather gets relievedly cooler, be sure to stop by some of these parks with a friend or two and see all that Pullman’s green spaces have to offer. 

Spending time outside, no matter the season, is the best way I have found to relieve stress and maintain a healthy college-life balance.