Ginkgo Petrified Forest / Wanapum Recreation Area

Did you know that you don’t have to go out of state to see petrified wood? Considered one of the most diverse fossil forests in North America, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is famous for the rare specimens of petrified Ginkgo biloba tree discovered there in the late 1920s. 

Curious? Drive to the park overlook and take in the big skies, Columbia River views and outdoor exhibits of petrified wood. Look for evidence of Ice Age floods carved into the walls of the Columbia River Gorge. Then step inside the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center. Not only is it air-conditioned, the museum features at least 20 varieties of petrified wood, including a shiny black slice of an ancient gum tree. 

Visit the Ginkgo “trailside museum,” constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. From here, the Trees of Stone Interpretive Trail winds past more than 20 petrified logs in their original settings. Birders, look for golden eagles, sage thrashers, Say’s phoebes and many other species.

You may want to reserve a campsite at nearby Wanapum Recreation Area so you can cap off a hot day with a refreshing swim or boat float in the Wanapum Reservoir. Pitch your tent or connect your RV, make a picnic under a shady tree, and savor this green oasis.

Park features


Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is a 7,470-acre park with camping at Wanapum Recreational Area. The park features 27,000 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Wanapum Reservoir along the Columbia River. Ginkgo Petrified Forest, discovered in the late 1920s, is a registered national natural landmark.
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  1. Activities
  2. Boating
  3. Camping
  4. History
  5. Maps

ADA amenities/facilities


  • Campground (Wanapum Recreation Area)
  • Restroom (Ginkgo Petrified Forest)
  • Hiking trail (Ginkgo Petrified Forest)

Picnic & day-use facilities

There are 57 unsheltered picnic tables, available first come, first served. The park is heavily used during Gorge concert season, and fills early on weekends.

Gingko Petrified Forest State Park day-use area (picnic area and trails) open year round. 
April 1-Sept. 30, 6:30 a.m. to dusk
Oct. 1 - March 31, 8 a.m. to dusk


 Wanapum Recreation Area boat launch open daily:
March 1-Sept. 30, 6:30 a.m.to dusk 
Oct. 1 - Nov. 30, 8 a.m. to dusk 
Dec 1 - Feb 28 - Closed 

Wanapum Recreation Area day use (picnic area, swim beach) open daily:
March 1- Sept. 30, 6:30 a.m.to dusk 
Oct. 1 -  Oct 31, 8 a.m. to dusk 
Nov.1 -  Feb. 28, closed

Activities


Trails


  • 3 miles of hiking trails

Water activities & features


  • Boating
  • Boat ramp
  • Freshwater fishing
  • Personal watercraft use
  • Swimming
  • Water skiing

Other activities & features


  • Bird watching
  • Interpretive activities
  • Museum
  • Wildlife viewing

Interpretive opportunities


The Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center offers spectacular views of the Columbia River, Sentinel Gap and surrounding Ice Age flood-carved basalt landscape. Indoor exhibits tell the geologic story of the Vantage Petrified Forest and display one of the most diverse petrified wood collections in North America. Admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted. 

Interpretive Center Hours:
April 1- May 15                        Friday, Saturdays and Sundays  11 a.m. to 6 p.m
May 16- Sept. 15                     Open Daily                                  11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sept. 16 - Oct. 31                    Friday, Saturdays and Sundays  11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Nov. 1 - March 31                    By appointment only   

The Trees of Stone Interpretive Trailhead, located two miles west of the interpretive center, guides you through an ancient fossil bed with nearly two-dozen petrified logs exposed along this one-mile loop trail. Along the trail you also will find ice-rafted erratic rocks remaining from Ice Age floodwaters thousands of years ago.

The Cove Recreation Area, located one-and-a-half miles south of the Wanapum campground, offers a half-mile, self-guided interpretive trail along Johnston Creek.
Check Grant County PUD website in regards to park hours and programs.  www.grantpud.org/communty/rec-area-maps.
 
For more information regarding tours and programs, call Olmstead Place State Park at (509) 925-1943. 

Additional information


  • A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.