First off, you have to find Bridgeport on a map and come to the gripping reality that you must make this trip by choice. You won’t just happen to be driving by and stopping in. It certainly isn’t the most remote state park in Washington State, but it isn’t in a convenient location either. Ofcourse you’re here to determine if it is worth your gas expenditure to see this little pot of gold. More accurately it would be fools gold. Not because it is a cheap and fake experience to visit Bridgeport State Park; but rather it is because it is shiny and beautiful like fools gold, it just isn’t the real deal.
It has a gorgeous platform of grass that blends right into the massive Columbia River. We have seen our fair share of grasslands at State Parks already, but this one might be the best. The way it slopes into a vast bowl is just incredible. Someone should just set up a stage here and have mini concerts. Outside of that use it is kind of an annoying waste; beautiful to look at, but not useful in the slightest.
Outside this gorgeous little spot what else lurks inside this park; it might be equally important to figure out why this is a park at all. The answer lies down the river. Just a few miles down river is the Chief Joseph Dam; a fantastic marvel of engineering. That also means upstream, where the park is located, is a slow flowing calm river. We are starting to realize if there is a dam near by, look for the park upstream. Bridgeport sports most if not all the usual fixings of a river based State Park. Camping, swimming, small cliff diving, paddle boarding, boating, gazebos, and rattlesnakes!
Sadly, or gratefully, we didn’t see a rattlesnake. Signs were posted in plenty; meaning it was posted once on the information board and nowhere else. Something my wife and I are learning from our State Park adventures is seek the information board first, because it will list the various ways you can get killed in the park. The board probably should have mentioned the staircase you must descend into the park. Maybe it’s the fact that it only has a slight chance of death that it wasn’t mentioned.
The stairs aren’t really that bad; also there is a handicap ramp about 300 feet long you can zig-zag your way down if you require it.
You’re still wondering about the small cliff diving aren’t you? Don’t be shocked when I say that is only ten feet or less, but there are multiple ledges that can be used for large groups of teenage craziness. There wasn’t really a way to get a picture of the edges, but I managed to get a shot of just how the view will look once you’re out near the edge. This water will entice you like a Siren of the sea, so I’d be careful to not linger out there if you aren’t planning to jump. My wife had to coax me back; I have a sneaking suspicion she was worried about the camera and not so much my safety.
Conclusion of the matter is 3 out of 5 stars. Beside location and rattlesnakes. It also feels rather confined since you are basically sitting in a bowl, throwing frisbees and footballs could be tough unless you are a true expert in park playtime. This is why I said it is fools gold. On paper and when you are there it feels like a perfect little slice of State Park, but the more you wonder and mull over it, the less intrigued you’ll be by it. Three stars is likely a day only visit. Camping here would probably turn it into a 4 star experience.