Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is a great place to camp with two miles of shoreline along the Green River. Located two miles north of Cumberland, Washington, the 541-acre state park was created in 1983 as part of the preservation of the Green River Gorge. The state park is named after the communities that surround the area which were constructed as part of the Northern Pacific Railway around the late 1890s.
The area around Kanaskat-Palmer State Park was the ancestral homeland to the Muckleshoot Tribe, which is a Salish speaking tribe. The tribe was instrumental in sustaining itself through fishing, animals, and plants that thrived in along the waterways of the Green River. The tribe encountered European fur trappers in the early 1800s and entered into the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1854. However, the treaty did not stop encroachment on tribal land and subsequently led to more violence. With the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway, settlers called the town of Kanaskat home during the early 1900s.
Today, Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts with white water rafting opportunities for expert paddlers. Other activities in the state park include fishing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife watching, and swimming. The campground is within a heavily forested area and contains 50 campsites including 19 that are furnished with electric hookups for RVs.
The weather at Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is excellent for campers with summertime temperatures in the mid-70s accompanied by up to three inches of rain per month. Winter time brings up to seven inches of snow per month and temperatures in the 40s.
RVs can access Kanaskat-Palmer State park at the junction of Cumberland Kanaskat Road Southeast and Kanaskat-Palmer State Park Road. Driving north from Cumberland you will follow the Cumberland Kanaskat Road Southeast which follows the shoreline of Newaukum Creek. The drive is not difficult with very few turns and travels over undulating terrain. Traveling south from Durham you will encounter a more difficult drive along Retreat Kanaskat Road Southeast.
Once inside the state park you will encounter congestion near the dump station and state park office. As you travel through the state park to the campground, there are two day-use areas that where you will run into congestion. The two day-use areas are primarily used by rafters and kayakers and navigating your RV or rig through these areas will be difficult. Inside the campground you will find the loops have wide curves and pose no problem for people driving bigger rigs. The best way to travel throughout the park is by bicycle where you will need to share the road with vehicles. While driving within the state park beware of sharing the road with pedestrians, bicyclists, and children playing near the campground and day use areas. Please adhere to all posted speed limits to ensure safety.
The Kanaskat-Palmer State Park Campground is situated along two loops that are connected by one road and contains 50 campsites, 19 of which are furnished with electric hookups. The campground is located in a heavily forested area that provides privacy and protection from the weather. There are several trails that lead from the campground to the Green River through the heavily forested area. There is a mixture of back-in and pull-through campsites. Each campsite is furnished with a picnic table, fire ring, and gravel parking pad which may require leveling. RVs and rigs are limited to 50 feet in length, and not all campsites can accommodate larger RVs. There is a dump station near entrance where you are encouraged to fill your water tank while dumping your holding tank. Other facilities within the campground include flush toilets, water spigots, and horseshoe pits. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained at all times by a six-foot leash.
Bringing a rod and reel in your rig is always a good idea as fishing at Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is a great activity. Fishing on the Green River is best after the spring run-off when water levels drop for cutthroat trout. There are many different species of salmon to be caught in the Green River including chum, coho, sockeye, chinook, and kokanee. Fishing season for these species is best in the fall and winter months. Please check Washington’s fishing regulations for bag and size limits and when the fishing season opens.
A popular thing to do in Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is to go hiking. The state park offers the three-mile loop River Trail that encircles the campground and follows the shoreline of the Green River. As you are hiking you can catch a glimpse of the beautiful natural scenery that includes cottonwood, spruce, alder, and cedar trees. The best time to hike is in the fall when the colorful trees turn from green to gold to orange to red. When you emerge from the forest to the river, you will have excellent opportunities to see the shale and sandstone cliffs of the Green River Gorge.
You should make sure you pack a pair of binoculars in your camper or trailer because the wildlife watching opportunities at Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is fabulous. From a safe distance you will have the chance to see numerous animals in their natural habitat. Animals you might spot on your trip include foxes, minks, otters, rabbits, raccoons, elk, deer, coyotes, and you might even spot a black bear. Whenever you are watching wildlife, please do not disturb new born animals or feed the wildlife in their natural habitat.
If you are an experienced kayaker or white water rafter then bring your rowing and paddling gear in your rig. The Green River Gorge is a mecca for Class II thru Class IV white water rapids. The river is ferocious in the spring time during run-off and sure to challenge even the best paddlers. There is no boat ramp to launch from but there is plenty of shoreline to pick the right spot for you to enter. Due to nature of the white water rapids, only expert paddlers are encouraged to take on the Green River Gorge. Other water sports in the summer time include swimming and you can always dip your toes in the water while sitting on the shoreline.
Biking is a superb thing to do in Kanaskat-Palmer State Park. There is a mixed use River Trail that runs around the campground and along the shoreline of the Green River. The trail is approximately three miles in length and is an excellent way to stretch your legs. There is plenty of paved road within the state park where bicycling is perfect. The easiest way to get around the rafters and kayakers within the state park is by bicycle. Always adhere to state park regulations when biking off trail within the area.
Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is a perfect place to try your luck at metal detecting if you have the right gear in your campervan. Once you unpack your detecting device from your rig, you can scour more than 19 acres within the park looking for hidden treasure in the ground. The campground area has been known to contain plenty of stuff left behind by campers and the day use areas are ideal for a quick glance. Not every place in the state park is open to metal detecting but you can check with the onsite rangers for coordinates of the area you can check.