My last visit to Kah-Nee-Ta was on a fun family trip when I was in the 4th grade. With fond memories from my own childhood, I wanted to return with my son. Kah-Nee-Ta invites its guests to visit and “Go Native”, which is just what we did on our weekend-long visit!
The Kah-Nee-Ta Resort is about 2 hours from Portland in Warm Springs, Oregon, home to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. On the drive into the resort, you may see wild horses along the side of the road lazily grazing in the warm sun and the sweet scent of juniper will start fill the air.
Two different sections, the Lodge and the Village, make up the resort. The Lodge, where we stayed, sits atop a hill overlooking rolling hills and bluffs painted in greens, browns, and reds. In the valley below the Lodge, is the Village, which is where the RV Park, TeePees, a Hotel (Village Rooms), an arcade, the waterslides and massive mineral pool, mini-golf, the spa, and a snack bar are found! If that’s not enough to keep you busy, golf is just up the road from the Village.
Our first impressions of the resort were good ones as we were greeted by lots of friendly staff at check in. We then made our way to our large room with a balcony and a beautiful view! The Lodge had a big, beautiful pool smack in the middle of complex, and on hot days, it was a refreshing relief. Just off the pool was the gym, which was well equipped with Precor machines, a hot tub, steam room, sauna, and spectacular views.
We were especially glad for the gym’s existence after discovering how good the food was at the Lodge! There are two main options for food in the Lodge itself – The Warm Springs Grill, which serves lunch and dinner, and the more upscale Chinook Northwest Grill, which also serves a breakfast buffet. Be sure to get to breakfast early to nab a table by the window so that you can enjoy the views!
Traditional Salmon Bake
Kah-Nee-Ta hosts the infamous Salmon Bake on Saturday nights during the summer. We had a wonderful time at this evening event, enjoying delicious salmon, and celebrating the rich cultures of the Warm Springs peoples. The salmon was cooked in the traditional manner over alder wood coals in the open by the elders and was served buffet style alongside many other traditional foods. After dinner, it was time for entertainment- tribal dancing with full traditional wear and live drumming happens right in front of you. Our son loved every moment and was even able to participate in the dancing!
Steeped in History
We had the chance to learn more about the history of the salmon bakes at The Museum at Warm Springs, about 11 miles from the Kah-Nee-Ta Resort. This nationally acclaimed museum has the largest collection of tribal artifacts in the U.S. and the pieces are stunning. The architect who designed the museum took suggestions from the tribes so that they could take great pride in its design. The museum is an amazing place where the tribes teach their children and visitors alike about the history and heritage of the three tribes who call the reservation home. It is one way they are keeping their traditions alive. We were glad we stopped to visit this museum.
Pi-ume-sha Treaty Days
We visited Warm Springs during the Pi-ume-sha Treaty Days, which are held in June. Pi-ume-sha Days offer many different events designed to immerse you in local native culture. We first saw the parade, which goes through Warm Springs to the grounds where the Pow-Wow is held. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful traditional dress and hearing the drums. The parade is a feast for the senses! Be prepared to get wet if the fire fighters are coming through, and be ready to catch the candy being thrown to excited kids! The perimeter of the Pow-Wow grounds was lined with booths selling food, crafts from beads and jewelry to dream catchers, and lots of toys.
We opted to forgo the dancing at the Pow-Wow and to instead attend the rodeo, which was loads of fun! We got to see a 4-year-old barrel racer, wild horse and colt racing, and adult steer wranglers. For my husband and son who had never been to a rodeo, this was a great introduction.
If your family is looking for a fun place to relax, play and learn, head to Kah-Nee-Ta Resort!
Sarah McCully is a Superoo who lives in the Pacific-Northwest with her husband, 5-year-old daredevil, dog, fish, and chickens. When she isn’t keeping up with her boys or animals, Sarah is exploring Oregon and Washington, and writing her camping with kids’ blog, Have Kid-Will Teardrop.
Sarah and her family were hosted on this stay by the Kah-Nee-Ta resort. But, all opinions are her own.