A short drive from Pullman and along the banks of the Snake River above Granite Dam, Wawawai Country Park is a small oasis of verdant riparian habitat in an area that is arid and treeless. Songbirds flit from tree to tree. Water drawn from the Snake River irrigates the 49-acre county park with lush, green lawns and picnic shelters. Bathers can swim in the all-but-still river, but must do so at their own risk. The amenities at Wawawai are very nice and unexpected, but they do not get much maintenance from Whitman County's small Park and Recreation Department that manages the park and its campground.
The campground has nine sites, all of which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each has a fire pit and picnic table, but there is little separating one site from its neighbor. Fire restrictions are imposed by the county from June through October and must be strictly followed by all visitors. During restriction season, only charcoal briquettes and gas grills are permitted in the park and campground. The large group shelter in the park can be rented for a daily fee of $100 and used for events, and the free increases to $250 for weddings. The gated entrance to the park and campsite grounds is locked daily from dusk until 7:00 a.m., so plan your arrival accordingly and be aware that cars can be locked in overnight.
Although relatively few people visit this campground, at times students from nearby Washington State University and the University of Idaho will come in larger groups. Granite Point, just down the road from the campground, is a great place to swim or cliff jump.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through this very spot on their way to the Pacific Ocean in 1805 and on their return in 1806. The area would have looked very different at the time, before the Snake River was dammed. Granite Dam, just downriver from the campground, has raised the water level considerably and slowed its flow to nearly a standstill. When Lewis and Clark passed through the area, they traded with the Nez Perce and Palouse tribes that lived in the area. Signage throughout the park has more information on the history and ecology of the area.