Ginkgo Petrified Forest / Wanapum Recreation Area

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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 tree discovered there in 1932.

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 more than 30 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 7,124-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 is a registered National Natural Landmark.

  1. Activities
  2. Boating
  3. Camping
  4. History
  5. Maps

ADA amenities/facilities

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

Use our interactive ADA recreation map to search for other state parks with ADA amenities and facilities. 

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-September 30, 6:30 a.m. to dusk
October 1 - March 31, 8 a.m. to dusk

Wanapum Recreation Area boat launch open daily:
March 1 - September 30, 6:30 a.m.to dusk
October 1 - November 30, 8 a.m. to dusk
December 1 - February 28 - Closed

Wanapum Recreation Area day use (picnic area, swim beach) open daily:
March 1- September 30, 6:30 a.m.to dusk
October 1 - October 31, 8 a.m. to dusk
November 1 - February 28, closed

Activities

Trails

  • 3 miles of hiking trails

Water activities & features

  • Boating
  • Fishing (freshwater)
  • Personal watercraft use
  • Swimming
  • Wtercraft launch
  • Waterskiing

Other activities & features

  • Bird watching
  • Interpretive activities
  • Interpretive center
  • 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:  

  • March 1- May 15 Friday, Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
  • May 16- Sept. 15 Open Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 16 - Oct. 31 Friday, Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 1 - March 31 By appointment only

The Trees of Stone Interpretive Trailhead, located 2 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 1.5 miles south of the Wanapum campground, offers a half-mile, self-guided interpretive trail along Johnston Creek.

Check Grant County PUD website for more information.

For more information regarding tours and programs, call Olmstead Place State Park at (509) 925-1943.

Additional information