Washington Nature, State Parks February 16, 2019
The Little Known Park That Washington History Buffs Will Absolutely Love
If you’re knowledgeable about Pacific Northwest history, you’re likely aware that the Lewis and Clark expedition spent quite a bit of time exploring Washington. In fact, many of our landmarks, structures, and even counties are named after the two explorers. Lewis & Clark State Park is no exception — and while the park is separate from the official Lewis and Clark Trail, the area is loaded with local history.
Lewis and Clark State Park is a 621-acre camping park that sits in one of the last major stands of old-growth forest in the state.
It's located about 6 miles northeast of Winlock in Lewis County.
The park has plenty of campsites, and spending a few days here is a truly relaxing experience.
There are full RV hook-up campsites, primitive sites, and standard sites.
The park opened in 1922 as a public camp for automobile tourists. Within two years, it saw around 10,000 annual visitors.
The old north spur of the Oregon Trail passed right through the park site.
During the Great Depression, Lewis and Clark State Park was hosted a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.
The young men employed at the camp completed most of the park's early development, and the day-use area doesn't look much different today.
Just a few miles away from the park, you'll find Jackson House, the first American pioneer home built north of the Columbia River.
The house was built in 1845 by John R. Jackson, and while most of the original house has deteriorated, it was rebuilt in the 1930s by the CCC camp.
John R. Jackson was one of the first Euro-Americans to settle in the area, becoming an American citizen in 1835.
John married Matilda Nettle Glover Coontz, a widow with four sons, in 1848. He built this home for his new family, and eventually, he became very politically active in the area. Ulysses S. Grant and Isaac Stevens, the first territorial governor of Washington, once visited the Jackson House.
If you enjoy camping, spend a few days in this historic state park this summer.
The old-growth forest is soothing and pleasant, and the fire rings and horseshoe pits are a nice touch.
Washington’s state parks are second to none.
Here are a few more worth exploring.