LEWIS CLARK TRAIL STATE PARK
Lewis and Clark Trail State Park is a 37-acre camping park with 1,333 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Touchet River. The park is a rare treasure of old-growth forest and river in the midst of the surrounding arid grassland.
"Long-leafed" ponderosa pine still grow here, as Lewis and Clark recorded in their journals. The ponderosa are old-growth trees, as are the cottonwood that abound in the park.
Periodic flooding gives the park its marked riparian character. Flooding lays down sediment and slows competition from weedy species, allowing the unusual vegetation of pine trees in the midst of arid grassland.
Another contributing influence to the existence of the pines is the park's very wet, almost "rainforest" mini-climate. The narrow piece of Touchet River valley, on which the park is built, constricts airflow and causes moisture to remain in the park.
The park is located on the historic Nez Perce trail that extends from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Remnants of the trail can be observed near the park.
The explorers Lewis & Clark (for whom the park is named) passed through the property in 1806 and commented on the unusual character of the vegetation.
The park was originally homesteaded by the Bateman family in 1864 and was the site for neighboring farmers' post-harvest picnics and games. Homesteading began in the region in 1859. Some of the original homestead sites still remain.
Woolly mammoth fossils have been found near the park. The woolly mammoth fossil is the official fossil of Washington state.
In 1996, catastrophic flooding occurred, laying down a million cubic feet of sediment in the park. Two additional major floods happened within the year. Periodic flooding is characteristic of riparian (river-related) terrain, and gives the park its distinctive character.
The day-use-area restroom was constructed in 1934 from 10,000 stones acquired from theTouchet River. The day-use-area kitchen shelter was also built in the 1930s and exhibits features of that period.
A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to Washington state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page
The park has 24 standard campsites, which can fit RVs, including motor homes. They are available April 1 - October 31, and are reservable from May 15-September 15.
Two teepees are available April 1 - October 31, and are reservable from May 15-September 15. The teepees are 16 feet in diameter with a rubber mat ground cover and can sleep up to eight people each. No cooking or flames allowed inside the teepees. Pets are allowed inside the teepees but must be on leash at the site.
The park provides two group camps that accommodate approximately 50 people each. Group Camp 1 is tent only, Group Camp 2 may accommodate tents or limited RVs. No hookups are available. Fees vary with size of the group.