Brooks Memorial State Park is a perfect place for RVers to experience nature with numerous hiking trails, the Little Klickitat River and a superb campground boasting 23 campsites with full hookups for motorhomes. Located 13 miles north of Goldendale, Washington, the 700-acre park is situated between the southern Yakima Valley and the Simcoe Mountains. The first parcel of land for Brooks Memorial State Park was purchased in 1944 and the park continued to grow until 1957. The park is named after Nelson B. Brooks who was instrumental in building numerous roads within the surrounding community.
Once the homeland of the Yakama Indian Tribe, the tribe signed a treaty with the government in 1855 and was granted land known as the Yakama Indian Reservation. Although the treaty allowed two years for the tribe to relocate to the reservation, settlers began moving into the area almost immediately. The arrival of settlers forced Chief Kamiakin to declare war which lasted until 1859.
Activities within Brooks Memorial State Park are plentiful with opportunities to hike, fish, and horseback ride. There is even a disc golf course within the park. The on-site Environmental Learning Center is ideal for RVers to learn more about the surrounding landscape of south-central Washington and the Yakima Valley. Another point of interest in the park is the memorial to Nelson B. Brooks which is great for taking a selfie next to.
The weather at Brooks Memorial State Park is pleasant for RVers with summer months bringing temperatures in the mid-70s to 80s along with minimal rain. Wintertime has temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to low 30s and snowfall of up to 12 inches in December and January.
Motorhomes can access Brooks Memorial State Park from Washington Highway 97 that runs through the Yakima Valley. Driving from north to the park from Goldendale is not complicated with easy terrain that follows the relatively easy landscape of the valley. The Yakima Valley is packed with plenty of agricultural land and drivers should be aware of large trucks, tractors, and combines on the road during harvest time.
Big rig drivers traveling south along Highway 97 from Toppenish will encounter a few more challenging conditions. The road has many curves, and a few hairpin turns that might be difficult for big rigs. The undulating terrain driving south forbids motorhomes from reaching high speeds. While driving you should always use the pull outs to ensure that traffic flows remain steady.
Once inside the park, you will encounter plenty of congestion at the entrance and be aware of oncoming traffic when traveling from the north side to the south side of the park. Driving your motorhome within the park is easy. There are no dramatic turns to deal with, and the roads are somewhat wider than normal campgrounds. You will encounter congestion in the southern portion of the park near the Environmental Learning Center. The best way to travel within the park after you have your camp set up is by bicycle.
While driving in the campground, you can expect to share the road with horseback riders, bicyclists, pedestrians, and children playing. Please adhere to all posted speed limits within the park. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on any of the mixed-use trails within the park.
The Brooks Memorial State Park Campground is situated along two loops connected by one road. The campground contains 23 back-in campsites with full hookups and an additional 22 tent campsites. Campsites are clustered together with minimal shade and privacy for RVers. Each campsite is furnished with a fire ring, picnic table and paved parking pad that may require leveling. Motorhomes are limited to 60 feet in length and most campsites can accommodate larger rigs. There is a dump station near the entrance of the park. Please do not dump full holding tanks at the campsites. Additional amenities at the campground include a playground, horseshoe pits, ball field, flush toilets, environmental learning center, and showers. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained by a six-foot leash at all times.
Hiking is a popular thing to do in Brooks Memorial State Park for RV travelers. There are nine miles of hiking trails including the mixed-use Satus Loop Road which is just over one and one-half miles in length. As you hike, you are afforded views of the Simcoe Mountains, Mt. Hood, beaver ponds along the Little Klickitat River, and high open meadows. In the springtime, wildflowers fill the meadows with numerous species of hawksbeard, daisies, asters, lupins, and colorful glacier lilies. Check with the Environmental Learning Center for more information on wildlife and wildflowers before setting out on your hike.
Horseback riding is popular within Brooks Memorial State Park. Although there are no corrals for rigs pulling horse trailers, there are several staging areas in the park for you to park. Once you are in the saddle you will be rewarded with stunning views of Mount Hood and Oregon White Oak forests as you follow the two-mile Satus Loop Road. The trails in the southern portion of the park follow several ridgelines and along the Little Klickitat River which is ideal for wildlife viewing while you are in the saddle.
RVers should bring their set of discs and play an exciting game of disc golf. The course is a stunning nine holes that was designed by park employees and was opened to the public in 2017. The course is set by the entrance of the park where you will follow a trail while throwing to the baskets. Some of the holes are within the forest off the trail making them more challenging. Holes eight and nine are in open terrain and all downhill. Hole seven follows the ridgeline and poses the most difficulty with hundreds of trees lining the ridgeline.
Pack your rod and reel in the campervan because the Little Klickitat River boasts some of the best fishing year round in the state of Washington. Summertime brings a vibrant steelhead run that begins again the winter months. You can expect to catch Coho and Chinook salmon along with several species of trout. Flies, bait casting, and spinning gear will bring the best results. Check the state of Washington fishing regulations for bag and size limits before you dip your line.
Winter time is ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the park. There str nine miles of hiking trails that are ideal after the snow falls for cross-country skiing. The best trail for cross-country skiing is the two-mile Satus Loop Road where the terrain is not so challenging. Snowshoeing is perfect too with several trails along Little Klickitat River where you can see frozen beaver ponds and the terrain is more difficult in the southern portion of the park.
The Environmental Learning Center at Brooks Memorial State Park is a great place for people camping in an RV. The natural landscape at the park is fabulous and there are numerous interactive exhibits at the center to help you learn more about the natural and cultural history of the area. Attending a ranger-led talk in the amphitheater or going on a ranger-led hike is the perfect way to experience the park. Don’t forget to stop by the Nelson B. Brooks Memorial and take a selfie of this famous road builder of Washington.