Whitman Mission National Historic Site

The murder of frontier missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman at the confluence of the Columbia and Walla Walla Rivers near Walla Walla, Washington, initiated a chain of events that ended with the Columbia Plateau Indians being placed on reservations to protect settlers who followed the Oregon Trail to its end. Tensions between the Whitmans and the Cayuse people are thought to have led to the murders. After Native American leaders had visited the mission established by the couple earlier in the day supposedly seeking medical advice, 60 members of the Cayuse tribe returned near midnight, killing the couple along with 11 or 12 other people living at the mission that they had established. As a result of the murders, President Polk quickly signed a bill declaring the area around where the couple lived the Oregon Territory, making it the first place west of the Rocky Mountains to be under U.S. control. This action led to the Cayuse War of 1848-1850 and many Native Americans were brought to trial in Oregon City. Learn more about the story from both perspectives by visiting the site where the murders took place. 

Things to Do

Things To Do Near Whitman Mission National Historic Site

Stop at the Whitman Mission Museum to learn more about the events that transpired before and after November 29, 1847, when Doctor Whitman, his wife, and those living at the Presbyterian Church mission were brutally murdered. The grounds of this historical site are a fantastic place to view wildlife and have a picnic in one of the shelters. 

Hiking Trails



Nearby Shops and Restaurants

map-marker-alt-regular How to Get There

How To Get To Whitman Mission National Historic Site

It is easy to get to Whitman Mission National Historic Site from Seattle in about 4 hours. Start by taking Interstate 5 South. Exit onto Interstate 90 East. Take Exit 137 and get on Washington 26 East. Turn right on Washington 243 South. At the traffic circle, take the second exit to stay on Washington 243 South. It will become Washington 24 West, and then it becomes Washington 240 East. When this road runs concurrently with Interstate 182 East, follow the interstate. Turn left to get on US 12 East. Turn right on Old Highway 12 and another right on Sweagle Road. Finally, turn left on Whitman Mission Road. 


328 Whitman Mission Road, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Fee: Entry fee $0

Learn more about the Oregon Trail’s history by visiting the Whitman Mission National Historic Site. Events at this site led to the formation of the Oregon Territory and forced Native Americans to live on reservations. The best way to explore this scenic area is in an RV. If you do not have one, then rent one on RVshare.com. You can discover all the shopping, hiking, sightseeing, and dining opportunities found in this area.