Vernita is located 10 miles south of Desert Aire and Mattawa. This area is a broad flat desert flat, and is the last area in Washington that the Columbia River runs free without a dam. It runs 51 miles unobstructed.
A ferry operated at Vernita before the bridge was constructed. Sheep numbered in the thousands here thanks to sheep farmers. When the state took over the ferry operation, they didn't like the mess the sheep left on the ferry boat when they had to cross. When the sheep herders protested the state, the highway commission reversed previous requirements that forced the sheep herders to use trucks to cross on the ferry. Sheep herders were free to use the ferry again without trucks until the bridge was built.
Today, Vernita is scrubland with no community. There is a rest area at the southern shore of the Columbia River. Vernita's southern border is all part of the Handford Site.