Attractions Related to the Lewis & Clark Trail and Native American Heritage
Tri-Cities has several fascinating attractions related to American Indian heritage and to the famous Lewis & Clark trail and expedition.
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Overlook
The Lewis & Clark Overlook is located at the intersection of Columbia Center Blvd. and Columbia Park Trail and looks out onto the Columbia River near Bateman Island. The overlook consists of a concrete plaza with a pergola, two interpretive panels and a 10' x 16' map of the Lewis & Clark Trail cast into the concrete plaza. Additional elements of the overlook include a stone wall, landscaping and an ADA accessible connection to the Sacagawea Heritage Trail.
Columbia Drive – First Federal Highway interpretive sign in the Northwest
Columbia Drive was the first Federal Highway in the Northwest. This was a two-lane road constructed of concrete, which paralleled the Columbia River. An interpretive sign located at the intersection of Edison Street and Columbia Drive commemorates this significant historic achievement. This historic highway follows the path that Lewis & Clark used in exploring this up-river section of the Columbia.
Sacajawea State Park & Interpretive Center 2503 Sacajawea Park Rd., Pasco - 509.545.2361
The center uses the popular spelling – multiple spellings of the Indian maiden's name can be found throughout the journals and interpretive centers. Commemorating the Lewis & Clark expedition's historic visit to our area, the park was named for Sacajawea, the wife of Charbonneau and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark party. This state run visitor center features the stories of Sacajawea and the Lewis & Clark trail and expedition as well as native American history.
Sacajawea Roadside Interpretive Marker
Located at the intersection of Hwy 12 and Sacajawea Park Road in Pasco, this is a roadside marker commemorating the American Indian who served the Expedition as guide, interpreter and symbol of peace.
Lewis & Clark Commemorative Marker
Located at the entrance to Hood Park on the Snake River in Pasco (intersection of Hwy 12 & 124.) This marker was placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the Expedition's journey through the Tri-Cities.
East Benton County Historical Museum 205 Keewaydin Drive, Kennewick - 509.582.7704
See the pioneers who followed the mighty explorers, Lewis and Clark. Colorful displays depict the hardships and successes experienced by the area's founding families. And don't miss the Kennewick Man exhibit! Kennewick Man, the skeleton found on the banks of the Columbia River in 1996 is the center of a display in the East Benton County Museum. The display depicts the skeleton on a river bank with a panoramic view of Rattlesnake Mountain in the background. The skull on display is a casting of the original skull found. Four reader boards and other information that is updated with current information accompanies the display.
Franklin County Historical Museum 305 N. 4th Ave., Pasco - 509.547.3714
Located in a former Carnegie Library, the Museum itself is listed in on the National Historic Register. American Indian, pioneer, aviation, and railroad exhibits give insight into our region's unique place in history. View wartime memorabilia and the local archive of acclaimed Hollywood cinematographer, James Wong Howe.
Benton County Historical Museum 7th and Paterson, Prosser- 509.786.3842
This wonderful museum showcases more than 20,000 items and "brings the past into the future." Items of interest include 1843 - 1920 gowns, a wildlife diorama, a general store, and numerous Indian artifacts. Tuesday - Saturday 10 - 4; Sunday 1 - 5 p.m.
Yakama Nation Cultural Center in Toppenish 200 Spiliyay Lp., Toppenish - 509.865.2800
Learn the culture of the Yakama Indian Nation via a first-rate interpretive center and cultural exhibits. Enjoy Pow Wows, colorful dances, and the rich culture of this proud people. Adjacent RV park offers tepee rentals, and the cultural center gift shop offers quality Native American Indian crafts.
McNary Wildlife Refuge & McNary National Wildlife Center 600 E. Maple, Burbank - Refuge 509.547.4942 / Center 509.543.8322
The McNary Wildlife Refuge is located just southeast of Pasco, off US Highway 395, just south of the Snake River, and provides an excellent chance to view many species of animal, songbird, waterfowl, and migratory birds including tundra swans, snow geese, green-winged teals, Northern shoverlers, canvasbacks, redheads, ring-necked ducks and lesser scaup. The refuge includes 15,000 acres of water and marsh, croplands, grasslands, trees and shrubs, and is an important resting and feeding area for up to 100,000 migrating waterfowl in the Pacific Fly-way. The most favorable viewing opportunities occur between October and December. Nesting activity commences from March through Late July. More than 212 species of bird are regularly sighted at the Refuge, including several endangered species (Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle.) Phone (509) 943-OWL to hear about sightings of rare or unusual birds seen recently.
The McNary National Wildlife Center is staffed by knowledgeable Audubon and Ornithological Society representatives that offer education and interpretive assistance regarding native flora and fauna.
- Walk the wetlands nature trail and view the habitat used by many species of waterfowl, upland birds and animals.
- The Center offers workshops and group sessions including "The Nature Safari"--a two hour nature walk that includes hands-on learning stations.
- The interpretive center also offers life-like mounts of 70 birds and animals, and a chance to handle real feathers, bones and pelts.
- Working with the Wanapum People, the Refuge recently installed a traditional Tule Mat Lodge as a station for study of culture, history and meditation.
The Walla Walla and Cayuse were just several of many tribes that interacted with the Lewis & Clark expedition. And the Expedition's return route was a land route that follows close to the present day city of Walla Walla. Many additional attractions and points of interest are to be found along this route including:
Fort Walla Walla Park & Museum Fort Walla Walla Park, Walla Walla - 509.525.7703
Constructed on what was an 1857 military reservation, this museum showcases a pioneer village using original and replica buildings. Exhibits feature early harvest techniques, and include a 33-mule team and wheat combine. Many activities take place throughout the year, including a Mountain Man rendezvous in July, a harvest festival in September, and musical and theatrical events during summer months.
Tamastslikt Cultural Institute 72789 Hwy 331, Pendleton, OR - 800.654.9453
The Indian owned museum on both the Oregon and Lewis and Clark Trails. Experience our world through elder's stories and songs, artifacts and exquisite gifts.
Whitman Mission Rt. 2, Walla Walla
In 1836 Marcuss and Narcissa Whitman built a mission among the Cayuse Indians that became an important stop on the Oregon Trail. The Whitmans and 11 others were eventually killed by the Cayuse in the Whitman Mission Massacre. A hilltop monument has been erected at the site. The museum tells the fascinating story of western development and although the original buildings did not survive, their locations are outlined on the grounds of this national historic site. Pioneer demonstrations and films supplement Indian and pioneer artifacts and museum displays.
"Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies" is an American Indian legend in art. High above Vantage on cliffs overlooking the Columbia River, metal sculptures featuring life-size horses running over the hills--breathtaking at sunset.
Lyons Ferry State Park, Marmes Rockshelter, and Fish Hatchery
Located in a remote section of eastern Washington at the confluence of the Snake and Palouse Rivers. In 1968 Washington State University researchers discovered human bones in what came to be known as the Marmes Rockshelter. The bones were determined to be at least 10,000 years old--and one of the earliest known human occupation sites in North America. Damming on the river has covered the actual site with water, but the graves were moved to a nearby hill that is accessible via a three-quarter mile trail (509) 646-3252. The nearby Lyons Ferry Hatchery has self-guided tours available of the fish rearing ponds and hatchery (509) 549-3551.