Go Discover: Sacajawea Historical State Park

Sacajawea Historical State Park
July 17, 2015
Sacajawea could be summed in two words: modest might. The Shoshone woman was young when she joined the Corps of Discovery — just about 17. Pregnant with her son “Pompey,” she marched across the west in pace with the males of the expedition company. She was never on the payroll as was her French-Canadian husband. She received nothing for her services.

Yet her role in history is indisputably huge. Resourceful, tough, brave and hard-working, it’s no surprise she remains a primary symbol of that expedition and our country’s westward expansion.

It’s also no surprise that the park named in her honor should represent that same spirit, and Sacajawea Historical State Park does just that! Just 284 acres at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers, this day-use park packs a recreation wallop! History, mystery, art, education, music, boating, fishing… Sacajawea has it all.

Come explore what this park has to offer and why residents in nearby Pasco often call it their best kept secret!
The Daughters of the Pioneers are founders of Sacajawea State Park and remain active with it even to
The Adventure...
With its compact size and (mostly) day-use designation you could enjoy Sacajawea in a single day -but so much is happening here you’ll want to come back again and again! Fortunately it’s open year round and enjoys a sunny, shrub steppe climate. Here’s just a sample of the fun Sacajawea has to offer.

History

The Sacajawea Interpretive Center and Maya Lins Story Circles installation
There is layer upon layer of history to explore at Sacajawea. Start at the Sacajawea Interpretive Center, built in 1938 by the WPA, forerunner to the CCC. Well-versed volunteers guide you through displays on Sacajawea, the Lewis & Clark Expedition, who landed at the site of the park in 1805, and the native peoples of Columbia Plateau.

Wander over to the seven Story Circles, an installation by world-renowned artist Maya Lin for the Confluence Project, which follows the Corps’ journey and legacy through art. Contemplate not only the history of the people that touched this land, but the birds, plants and animals, and the land itself shaped by ice-age floods.

Or reflect on the history of the park itself preserved as a historic site (for its association with the expedition) by the Daughters of the Pioneers before it was deeded to the State of Washington and designated a state park in 1931. Or join a history tour! The park welcomes many privately-owned water and bus tours that stop by to explore the park and interpretive center.

Boating, Fishing and Swimming

As a riverside park there's plenty of water recreation fun to be had at Sacajawea.
 

Verdant lawns, big shady trees and nearly two miles of freshwater shoreline under a wide blue sky? Yep! Sacajawea’s got ’em! There’s no end to the boating and great fishing opportunities here. If you boat in, you may get lucky and score the park’s one exception to overnight camping… a Northwest Discovery Water Trail campsite! It accommodates eight but is only available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Or just moor your boat and cook those steelhead and bass you caught in the river at the reservable kitchen shelter or one of the park’s 130 picnic sites and barbecues. Meanwhile, the kids can enjoy a swim, a volleyball game or some horse shoes! Right now is the perfect season to enjoy a cool dip on a hot day at Sacajawea. Water skiing, canoeing and kayaking are also popular here (as Lewis and Clark would attest!). Plus, there’re ample opportunities to catch a glimpse of wildlife and shorebirds, like pelicans, while you hang out. Remember: Park policy states alcohol is not allowed in the park without prior permission. Call ahead if you plan an event that includes libations!


Events

I'm not Meriwether Lewis, but I play him at Sacajawea State Park Heritage Days.
Events at Sacajawea happen year round, from volunteer cleanups, to Old Fashion Day, a great Bluegrass Festival presented by the Mid-Columbia Traditional Music and Arts Association, to a Geocoin Challenge, a geocaching event.

The park’s signature event happens in September. Sacajawea Park Heritage Days, now in its 12th year, promises to be bigger than ever, say the Friends of Sacajawea State Park volunteers sponsoring the event. Starting Friday, Sept. 25, the park comes alive with history at 25 educational stations. Come meet re-enactors of mountain men, Corps members and native peoples. Learn from biologists, historians, writers and more!

Friday is focused on regional school groups, though the public may attend. The fun continues on Saturday — which is also a state parks free day! — with all these same events, food vendors and more! Enjoy a whole day of history and stay for the evening presentation of old-fashioned music around a campfire in the main field!

For even more fun in October, head back to Sacajawea for The Haunted Forest, spooky nights in the park sponsored by the Pasco Jaycees. Get ready to get scared silly starting the second Friday of the month all the way through Halloween night!
BOO! The Haunted Forest at Sacajawea is a popular fund-raiser and hair raiser too
Trip Planner...

Park Hours:
6:30 a.m. to dusk

Camping:
The park has one Northwest Discovery Water Trail campsite available on a first-come, first-served basis. Overnight camping is often available during the Bluegrass Festival held at the park in mid June. Contact the organizers of the festival for more details.

Discover Pass:
If you drive in, the Discover Pass must be displayed on your vehicle when visiting Sacajawea Historical State Park.

Location:
At the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers, 2503 Sacajawea Park Road Pasco, WA 99301.

Maps:
Want a handy trail map? Download one from the State Parks website.


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