Do you need some travel inspiration? Washington's Gingko Petrified Forest State Park is a fossiled wonderland complete with trails, shoreline, and stunning views. It's the perfect place for a 2-hour road trip away from Seattle.
It boasts three different areas that you can use, whether it's staying overnight at a campsite, having a picnic, or walking the three miles of trails.
What can you expect?
There are three different areas that you can explore here. The first, Wanapum Recreation Area, is perfect if you're looking to utilize the campground, boat ramp, or beach.
The second one is the interpretive center, which has picnic tables for day-use only, outdoor displays, and an interpretive facility.
Because it sits on a bluff, you'll get stunning views of the Columbia River. This is also where you can check out exhibits, displays, and a gift shop.
Lastly, there's the Trailside Museum and the Trees of Stone trail. It's perfect if you want to stretch your legs, learn more about petrified wood, or look at over 30 varieties of it in the museum.
What is petrified wood?
According to the park's brochure, "The petrified logs formed when the Gingko lava flow, one of many such flows in this area, covered and entombed water-saturated trees."
When some trees had fallen into the lake, the water protected them from the lava's heat, allowing them to be "Encased by basalt for over 15 million years."
The minerals trapped in the water turned the trees into the petrified wood that you can see at the park today!
What can you see on the trails?
You'll defintely want to bring your camera for this one. The Trees of Stone trail takes you through a "prehistoric" lake bed where you can see many ancient logs in their original locations.
This path is about 2 miles west of the interpretive center and is 3 miles long. You can expect to see more than two dozen fossilized logs!
If your friends are busy, you can bring your pup along for free. Just be sure that they remain on a leash.
Gingko Petrified Forest State Park
Price: Free (Discover Pass for parking)
Address: 4511 Huntzinger Rd., Vantage, WA
Why You Need To Go: You can explore an ancient fossilized forest just outside of the city.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and, most of all, be respectful on your trip.