Ginkgo Petrified Forest | Credit: Washington State Parks
Ginkgo Petrified Forest/Wanapum Recreation Area, Vantage
Ginkgo Petrified Forest sits atop a bluff on the west side of the Vantage Bridge over the Columbia River. While the location might seem unremarkable at first (save for the constant sunshine), look more closely and you’ll soon see why this area is perfect for exploring with curious kids. A rare petrified log from a ginkgo biloba tree was discovered here in 1932, followed by the realization that the site contained a whole petrified forest.
Although an effort to get national monument status for the site failed, it is a registered national natural landmark. Kids will love learning about petrified wood and holding various specimens inside the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center on-site (closed in winter; check for seasonal reopening). The adjacent campground at Wanapum Recreation Area has 50 campsites, all with full utility hookups, though tent campers are welcome to use the sites. Be prepared for high winds in the evening.
Reservations: Book online.
Next stop: Potholes