Ft. Simcoe Remains A Tucked Away Gem
It’s out of the way location makes it one of Washington’s least visited state parks, but a trip to Fort Simcoe is well worth the drive.
My family and I took a Labor Day picnic trip to Fort Simcoe State Park, or simply “The Fort” as most of us who grew up in the western part of the lower Yakima Valley call it. We were not disappointed. It had been a few years since we had been to the Fort, but the park has never looked better. The lawns and parade ground were a lush green, all of the buildings are in great shape, especially the remaining original buildings that are over 150 years old.
The state has done a great job of adding more interpretive signs in the park, giving visitors more information on the site’s history.
Here’s how the state park system website describes Fort Simcoe:
Fort Simcoe State Park is a 200-acre, day-use heritage park in south central Washington on the Yakama Indian Nation Reservation. The park is primarily an interpretive effort, telling the story of mid-19th century army life and providing insights into the lifeways of local Native American culture. Located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in an old oak grove watered by natural springs, Fort Simcoe was an 1850′s-era military installation established to keep peace between the settlers and the Indians. Due to its unique historic significance, the park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in June, 1974. Before the fort era, the site was an Indian campground where many trails crossed.
The park is steeped in the history of Central Washington, and the Pacific Northwest and our country as well. It’s the history of the Yakama people, the U. S Military, and the natural history of the region as well.
Take a look at some great photos of Fort Simcoe.
Remember, that even though Fort Simcoe is a day use park, a Discovery pass is needed.
Take the drive out to Fort Simcoe, and step back over 150 years and further in to Central Washington history.