Yelm is a city in Thurston County, Washington, United States. The population was 6,848 at the 2010 census. Yelm ranked 10th of 279 eligible incorporated communities in the state of Washington for population growth between 2000 and 2010. The City of Yelm has come a long way from humble beginnings originally inhabited by the local Nisqually Indian Tribe into a hub for Washington's Southeast Thurston County & southwest Pierce County residents & businesses, as well as the city many pass in their daily commutes to the State capitol in Olympia or Joint-Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Tacoma. John Longmire was one of the first settlers that started arriving in the mid- 1800s, followed by the Northern Pacific Railroad beginning service in 1873. Longmire explored Mt. Rainier and upon building a wagon road and a guiding station to the future national park, Yelm came to be known as the gateway to Mt. Rainier. Yelm and Mt. Rainier have always had a close relationship. The headwaters of the Nisqually River flow through Yelm enroute to Puget Sound. Former Yelm teacher Fay Fuller was the first woman to ever to ascend to the peak of one of the tallest mountains in the continental United States.