Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, Vantage

2.8
#49 of 136 in Nature in Washington State
Forest State Park
Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park/Wanapum Recreational Area is a 7470acre Washington state park at Vantage, Washington that includes 27000ft of shoreline on the Wanapum Reservoir on the Columbia River. Petrified wood was discovered in the region in the early 1930s, which led to creation of the park as a national historic preserve.The strata it lies in is identified as the Miocene Epoch of the Neogene period (15.5 MYa). Over 50 species are found petrified at the site, including ginkgo, sweetgum, redwood, Douglas fir, walnut, spruce, elm, maple, horse chestnut, cottonwood, magnolia, madrone, sassafras, yew, and witch hazel.HistoryDuring the Miocene epoch, around 15.5 million years ago, the region was lush and wet, home to many plant species now extinct. A number of these trees were buried in volcanic ash, and the organic matter in the tree trunks was gradually replaced by minerals in the groundwater; the resulting petrified wood was protected for millennia by flows of basalt. Near the end of the last ice age, the catastrophic Missoula Floods (about 15,000 BC) eroded the basalt, exposing some of the petrified wood.
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  • Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is an interesting stop along Interstate 90, where it crosses the Columbia River. There is a museum on the bluff above the river, where there are fine scenic views. T...  more »
  • Do not let the name "forest" fool you, the entire thing consists of chunks of logs locked up in cages. I tried to get a couple pictures and you couldn't even do that. It's also very hot, inhabited by ...  more »
  • We visited this State Park in August, temperature was high 80's. We hiked part of the trail, and saw some neat petrified rocks sticking out of the ground, but it was too hot to hike farther. Down the ...  more »