Warehouse Beach

Swimming Area

Swimming Area

Although not in our neighborhood at all, I thought his place was worthy of a post.  We, Kate, that IS her real name, and I were doing some research on B and Bs in the Walla Walla, WA area and decided to just sniff around down the Columbia River toward Oregon.  It was a cold and foggy December day, but this little stretch of road is really a fine place to visit.

(It was so foggy the day we visited, I am showing you photos from a  summer day!  Credits on photos.)

Warehouse Beach?      “…   Many years ago a large warehouse, where local wheat farmers brought in their sacked wheat for storage and shipment, was located on the site. The old Spokane, Portland and Seattle (SP&S) Railroad was adjacent to the warehouse and from this point, wheat was shipped to the markets. The majority of local people, including law enforcement officials continue to use the name Warehouse for the site. …”  I am guessing that the river level was about 75 feet below the current ‘beach’ at the time.

Backwater

Backwater

Most of the interest in this area is the Walla Walla Valley and the multitude of wineries that are in that vicinity.  You leave that scene when you travel down the Columbia River toward Oregon.  Warehouse Beach is about 15 miles south of the junction to the turn off to Walla Walla on State Highway 730.  This is about 35 miles south of the Tri-Cities area of Washington State.

This part of the Columbia River is all Lake Wallula, backed up by the McNary Dam since 1954.  We found that most of the shoreline along this stretch is rocky.  That is what made Warehouse Beach such an attention getter.  A sandy, gently inclined, swimming beach with picnic shelters, 3 campsites and a beautiful view of Wallula Gap and the Columbia River.  (This spot would have been ground zero during the massive floods that swept this area in the past.)  Looked like a nice place to put the kayaks in, even in the winter.  Some rocky islands, some marshy areas, a rough boat launch, hiking trails.  The three campsites are designated as ‘group camps.’  They appear to be available by reservation only via an 800 number.  This 130 acre park is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Open year ’round and an easy half mile of a good gravel road off SR 730.  Just follow the signs; ok for passenger vehicles.  No fees!

View from Camps

View from Camps

Another interesting thing about this area is the walking/biking/equestrian trail that is adjacent to the park. This is the Lake Wallula Scenic River Hiking Trail.  This trail follows the railroad bed of the old Spokane, Portland and Seattle railroad.  Another layer of history that you may want to peel back about the area!   What most people are interested in is the route of Lewis and Clark, westbound in 1805 and eastbound in 1806, and what their journals said about the area.  You can visit the locations of their campsites, etc.  (The river would have been about 75 feet below the current lake height.)

The hiking trail has historical and geological information signs along the route.

Dennis’til next time,
Dennis George
Highland Garden House B & B
501 E. Highland Ave.
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
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This entry was posted in Cycling, Day Trips-Driving, E. Wash, Geology, Hikes & Walks, Kayaking, Local History, Rivers and Lakes. Bookmark the permalink.

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