Ginkgo Petrified Forest / Wanapum Recreation Area

Did you know that you don’t have to go out of state to see petrified wood? Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, halfway between Spokane and Seattle, is worth the drive.  

Considered one of the most unusual fossil forests in North America, the area first became known for the rare petrified Ginkgo tree discovered in 1932. 

Curious? Drive to the park’s overlook and take in the big skies, Columbia River views and outdoor exhibits of petrified wood and Native American pictographs. Then step inside the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Museum. 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. 

Take in the film that tells a fascinating story about a geologic mystery – then hit the trails.  A shorter interpretive trail, 3 miles of rugged hiking and first-class birding await only 2 miles away. Tanagers, bald eagles, turkey vultures, killdeer, California coil, mountain bluebirds, sage thrashers, golden eagles, Say's phoebes and peregrine falcons.

You may want to reserve a campsite at nearby Wanapum Recreation Area (part of Gingko Petrified Forest State Park) in advance so you can cap off a hot day in the scablands with a refreshing swim or boat float in the Wanapum Reservoir. Pitch your tent or hook up your RV, make a picnic under a shady tree and savor this green oasis in the desert.

Park features


Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is a 7,470-acre park with camping at Wanapum Recreation Area. The park features 27,000 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Wanapum Reservoir along the Columbia River. Ginkgo Petrified Forest, discovered in the early 1930s, is a registered national natural landmark. 

Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.

  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) and Wanapum Recreation Area boat launch open daily:
April 1-Sept. 30, 6:30 a.m.to dusk 
Oct. 1 - March 31, 8 a.m. to dusk 


Wanapum Recreation Area day use (picnic area, swim beach) open daily:
April 1-Sept. 30, 6:30 a.m.to dusk 
Oct. 1 - 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
  • 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  11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m
May 16- September 15            Open Daily                                  11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
September 16 - October 31     Friday, Saturdays and Sundays  11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
November 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.