Visiting Olmstead Place State Park

As the cool Ellensburg breeze sweeps across your face, you watch the trees sway back and forth and listen to the frenzy of birds chirping above you. Breathing in the fresh air, you exhale a large sigh and look at the beauty before your eyes — Olmstead Place Historical State Park.

Although not the typical image of a Washington state park, Olmstead Place is a great getaway from the realities of day-to-day life and the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon picnic in nature.

At First Glance

Built in the late 1800s, this park was once a three-generation owned dairy farm, positioned about 10 minutes away from Ellensburg. Olmstead is broken up into two main areas, the welcome center and the historical farm about half a mile down the road.

When you first arrive, you will see a large sign welcoming you to a large grassy abyss, filled with a multitude of trees and flowers basking in the sun. You will also see your first signs of history with the bright, cleverly positioned farming equipment lining the entrance. 

Though, this is only a small portion of the historical farming instruments you will see on your visit. As you make your way down to the farm, make sure to roll down your windows and listen to the breeze push its way through the surrounding fields.

Olmstead Place State Park Red Barn with Quilt block

Arriving at the Farm

To your right is the original Olmstead family home, centered between a bushel of different types of purple, white and pink flowers. Because it is spring, everything from the grass to the assortment of plant life growing along the paths is bright green and in full growth. 

While walking on the short trail, prior to arriving at the house you will pass the Olmstead Cabin which was once used as a fort during the Nez Perce Indian War of 1878. 

As you continue along the path you will begin to notice the vast number of picnic tables available for visitors. Whether you are a student needing a study break, or a family wanting a quiet afternoon to spend outside, this area is the perfect location to rest.

The Olmstead Legacy

Looking out upon the house, past the picnic tables is a well-loved trellis that leads to the main area of the historical landmark — the Olmstead family home. Like the other structures, the home is a bright brick red, surrounded by lush trees and bushes. 

Birds continually land and jump from the roof, chirping at others to signal the visitors. Surrounding the house are smaller paths that all lead to the large billowing barn. Although slightly ominous with the surrounding clouds, this barn stands tall and represents the immense history of the farm. 

This particular barn was built for and used to store hay after the Olmsteads made the transition from beef to dairy farming. The surrounding hardware were all used during the time of technological advancements in transitioning to a new type of farming. 

As you head back through the trees to the house, you will pass a large archway with benches lining the sides for visitors who want to see both the house and the barn in the same view. From this spot you can also see the large clouds painted across the blue sky, just through a little opening in the trees. 

Wooden trellis at Olmstead Place

The Olmstead Place State Park is a hidden treasure nestled in the heart of the Central Washington farm country. If you are looking for a quiet reading spot or a place to have a yummy picnic dinner at sunset, this should be your next destination. 

You will need a Washington State Discover Pass to park at Olmstead Place. You can purchase a day pass or you can buy an annual pass. The annual pass is a great bargain if you are planning to get out and Explore Washington regularly.

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Madeline Wilson

Madeline Wilson is a native Californian who relocated to Central Washington three years ago to attend CWU. She enjoys spending her weekends (and any piece of free time) away from the hustle of school by regularly visiting new parts of Washington state with her friends. Trying as many hole-in-the-wall coffee shops as possible — even without a liking for coffee — is always on her checklist. If all goes according to plan, she will graduate within the next year and continue her passion for writing about the wonderful people and places across Washington.

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