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 word "Yelm" is said to come from the Coast Salish word shelm or chelm, meaning "heat waves from the sun", referring to heat mirages.
The Yelm Prairie was originally inhabited by the Nisqually and provided good pasture for their horses. The first permanent non-indigenous settlers came in 1853 to join the Hudson's Bay Company sheep farmers who were already conducting business in the area.