Exploring Vantage Road Trip: Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park/Wanapum Recreational Area

Exploring Vantage Road Trip:
Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park/Wanapum Recreational Area
By Clay Graham / Eastern Washington Adventures

On the morning of Sunday August 21st, 2011 we left Selah, Washington and Northeast for the Eastern Washington Adventures Exploring Vantage Road Trip. We took the back roads all the way to Vantage so we could take in the sites. As we pass through the Yakima Canyon we saw a lot of people floating the river on this hot day. One raft full of women flashed us and my boys thought that was cool.

We took the Vantage Highway and saw a lot wind machines. Close to Vantage we stopped to see the petrified logs. We walked the first part of the trail and got to see a few petrified logs in cages. It was too hot to walk all the trails and we also did not like the idea of walking in Rattlesnake county. We head on down the road toward Vantage to the main park. There were a lot of things to see and you were able to touch the petrified wood. We had lunch and then checked out all the cool stuff.

Next we headed across the Columbia River to kill some time since we could not check into our campsite we reserved at Wanapum State Park until after 2:30 PM. We drove up to the Wild Horses Monument Viewpoint off of I-90 to take in the view. The kids wanted to walk up to see the Wild Horses Monument but again it was just to hot of a day for the hike. We told them we will go back went it cools down and the snakes are hibernating.

Next we head over to the George area just to look around in the nice air conditioned pickup. Just for fun we drove by the Gorge Amphitheater AKA “The Gorge in George“. It was getting to be time where we could check in at Wanapum State Park so we headed back across the Columbia River.

We got check in at Wanapum State Park and set up camp. My wife and kids walked over to the day use area of Wanapum State Park and found it was packed so bad they could not get into the water. They came back to camp to wait for the crowd to dissipate some.

A little later on I took a walk over to see the day use area. I could not believe all the trash that people left everywhere. I saw one guy in a group that was leaving chuck a beer bottle into the brush. I as a Public Land Volunteer am tired of people that abuse areas.

When I returned to camp, my wife and kids went to the day use area to swim. Foxracer came to see me at our camp. We talk awhile until it got dark. My wife and kids showed up as Foxracer was leaving.

That night sleeping in the tent was kind of wild. The wind was blowing like crazy. It felt good since it was hot but our tents were close to flying away.

The next morning after breakfast we headed out to see more sites.

Just for your information:

Here are some pictures of our trip:

Wind machines along Vantage Highway.

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park – Petrified Log Trails.

Down the Vantage Highway next to the Columbia River.

Looking across the Columbia River at I-90 and the Wild Horses Monument.

Zoomed in!

Very strange how the tree is now rock.

Looking south at the I-90 Vantage Bridge over the Columbia River.

The family dieing in the heat.

Ginkgo Gem Shop is along the road into the park.

Here we are on the other side of the Columbia River at the Wild Horses Monument.

At the Wild Horses Monument again looking south at the I-90 Vantage Bridge over the Columbia River.

Looking across the Columbia River at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park.

Time to get back in the air conditioned pickup.

We saw this near Gorge.

Here we are pulling into Wanapum State Park to camp.

The line moved faster than I expected. Day use people with Discover Passes got to go right on through.

Here we have the team setting up camp so they can go play.

Now camp is set up, it’s time to relax in the shade.

Here I am taking a walk with the kids to the day use area.

Look out for Rattlesnakes.

Here in the Wanapum State Park Day Use Area people were packing up and heading out.
The group to the left near the trees is the one with the litter bug.

Here is the Wanapum State Park Day Use Area beach.

Looking toward Saddle Mountain where just below in front is Beverly Dunes. We had an ORV Camp-out two days after this day.

We saw some Wildlife on the walk back to Wanapum State Park Camping Area.

Here is the next morning after the wind storm.

We had a great time in Vantage. Next we head down the Columbia River to see the sites.


About Clay Graham

Photojournalist at Selah Sweets / Eastern Washington Adventures - Our mission is to help communities on the east side of the Cascades in Washington State by promoting responsible outdoor recreation, promoting tourism, and community involvement. Our vision is to see Eastern Washington as a destination point to do bring more things to do.
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