At the start of the twentieth century, Virgil B. Bennington, who was the President of the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce at the time, lobbied the government for flood protection as a result of public concern over flooding of Walla Walla. This resulted in the development of the Mill Creek Dam, which was approved in the 1938 Flood Control Act. The resulting body of water was officially named Virgil B. Bennington Lake in 1992.
Bennington Lake, located near Walla Walla, is a popular place for outdoor recreation; visitors can enjoy paddling kayaks and canoes, sailing, or boating (electric motors only). The lake, which is stocked in the spring with rainbow trout by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, is popular for fishing. There are also more than 20 miles (32.2 km) of hiking trails available for visitors, who can enjoy views of the lake as well as the Blue Mountains. Birding is another popular activity for visitors; many species reside in the area year-round while others migrate through the area.
There is something for everyone at Bennington Lake, making it an excellent choice for your next RV vacation!
From Kennewick, take US-12 E for 14.1 miles (22.7 km) and then turn left near Wallula Junction to continue on US-12 E for 31.8 miles (51.2 km); you will pass Whitman Mission National Historic Site (to the south of US-12 E), then Walla Walla and Whitman College. Continue to the exit toward the airport and head south on Airport Way. Drive 2.2 miles (3.5 km) to Reservoir Rd (crossing Mill Creek) and arrive at Bennington Lake.
Parking is available at Bennington Lake.
Public transportation is not available to Bennington Lake.
About 45 minutes from Bennington Lake is Fishhook Park, which can be found on the shores of Lake Sacajawea in the eastern part of Washington. Fishhook Park has 41 campsites with electric hook-ups (some include water and sewer hook-ups), all of which can be reserved. There are also 11 primitive walk-up sites and two group sites with sun shelters. The campground is on the waterfront, offering excellent views of Lake Sacajawea. A dump station is available at the campground and there are also flush toilets, showers, and a playground. Each site has a picnic table, barbecue and fire pit. Vehicles up to 65 feet long can be accommodated.
Less than 30 minutes from Bennington Lake is Lewis and Clark Trail State Park Campground. The land that is included in the park was passed through in 1806 by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, resulting in its name. The park is 37 acres in size and has 24 tent sites that can be utilized by those seeking to spend the night in the area. Sites are first-come-first served. There are also two group camps that can accommodate about 100 individuals each (or 10 RV’s). There are two miles of hiking trails in the State Park as well as opportunities for swimming and fishing for rainbow trout. Restrooms, showers and a dump station are available.
With more than 20 miles (32.2 km) of trails, Bennington Lake has something to offer for everyone as far as hiking goes. You can take a long walk around the perimeter of the lake or a shorter walk to see the water from different angles. Keep your eyes peeled on your walk; the trails that are around the lake are great for spotting birds and catching views of wildlife!
Not far from Bennington Lake is Fort Walla Walla City Park, where there is something to do for everyone, kids and dogs included! Engage in a game of volleyball on the sand volleyball court or give disc golf a try on the park's course. Those looking for more extreme activities will enjoy the park's BMX track and skateboard park. The park is great for families with kids as it includes a playground and kids of all ages can take advantage of the remote control car and aircraft facilities. There is even a dog park so your best canine pal can join the fun!
Bennington Lake is a great place for those interested in birdwatching. The Sun and Sage National Birding trail can be found near the lake; meaning that whenever you visit you are bound to view a variety of species of birds. During the summer months, you may catch a glimpse of spotted sandpipers or yellow-breasted chats. Ospreys can be seen in spring and fall and winter is a great time to encounter great-horned and long-eared owls. Tuesday Bird Walks run by the Blue Mountain Audubon Society are held year-round at Bennington Lake.
Bennington Lake provides excellent fishing opportunities, regardless of your level of experience. The fishing season at Bennington Lake is year-round, with the lake being regularly replenished with rainbow trout. There is a limit of five trout per day and only two trout that are more than 13 inches. Be sure to get a Washington fishing license before you cast a line and review the fishing regulations of Walla Walla!
One of the few unnatural history museums in the world can be found not far from Bennington Lake in Walla Walla. The museum has a myriad of odd and quirky artifacts, creations and ideas.
Three styles can be found in the museum; absurdism, Dadaism, and surrealism and you can expect to see a wide variety of materials and colors used to reflect an idea or concept. There is no doubt that you will be treated to an interesting experience!
A great way to relax and get a little exercise is to enjoy a game of golf. Fortunately, Walla Walla has four golf courses for you to check out; Canyon Lakes Golf Course, Veterans Memorial Golf Course, Wine Valley Golf Course and Milton-Freewater Golf Course. If you are looking to get in some practice on your swing without playing a full game, you can head to the Stephen L. Petty driving range. Enjoy the area’s scenery as well as some fresh air as you take some swings!