Fort Simcoe Historical 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 life ways 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 1850s-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 features rich interpretive opportunities, which explore mid-19th century life and the clash of cultures that took place when settlers and Indians vied for the same territory.
Fort Simcoe Historical State Park is one of the largest gathering areas in the Northwest of the Lewis's woodpecker. Named after explorer Meriwether Lewis of the Corps of Discovery, Lewis’s woodpeckers are among the most specialized of all American woodpeckers in fly-catching behavior. Unlike other American woodpeckers, 60% of the Lewis’s feeding time is spent fly catching. The woodpeckers can be located throughout the park, with the best viewing areas near the officer’s houses and the picnic area.
Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
The park provides four sheltered and 45 unsheltered picnic tables. Restrooms, running water, and ample parking are available, with no fees. Tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
0.8 miles of hiking trails
Other Activities & Features
Two horseshoe pits
The park has an interpretive center and three officer's buildings that are open to the public from April 1 to October 1, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. The entire park is of interpretive value. Group tours are offered for a fee. Tours the rest of the year may be made by appointment, call 509-874-2372.
Five original buildings are still standing at the fort, the commander's house, three captain's houses, and a blockhouse. Various other buildings have been recreated to appear original. Houses are filled with period furnishings.
A family weekend in May celebrates "Military Days" and Fort Simcoe History. Events may include military re-enactors and living history specialists, traditional tribal dancers, flag raising ceremony, military displays, antique car shows, free cake, and refreshments.
Fort Simcoe has large open grassy areas for baseball, football, softball, and soccer.
Wildlife viewing is seasonal and bird watching is year-round.
There is no individual camping available at this park, but a group camp that overlooks the fort and parade ground accommodates 50 guests and six RVs is available.
Reservations & Fees
For reservations and fee information, call the park at For reservations, call the park at (509) 874-2372.
Services & Supplies
Fort Simcoe has a small bookstore located in the park's interpretive center.
The tribes of the Yakama Nation long used the Fort Simcoe site as a camping area. Its cold springs, called "Mool Mool" (bubbling water) by the tribes, offered an abundance of water in the otherwise dry region. Timber was nearby, grassland was abundant and the weather in the valley was normally better than further north.
As conflicts increased between white settlers and tribes in the Washington Territory, the military needed a post further north than Fort Dalles, Oregon. The camping area of Mool Mool was chosen and Fort Simcoe construction began Aug. 8, 1856, by companies G and F, Ninth Infantry, led by Maj. Robert Seldon Garnett.
The fort served as an advance post of the Ninth Infantry Regiment, one of the two regular army posts established in the territory. The other was Fort Walla Walla.