The nights are getting a little bit cooler, and fall is getting close.
As our summer comes to an end, I know I’m trying to get outdoors as much as possible – to soak up as much sunlight as I can before the gray winter months ahead.
One of my favorite things to do is get out of the city and into nature. We’re lucky here in the Tri-Cities to have so much natural beauty surrounding us.
Here are my top 3 places to explore in the Tri-Cities area!
- Badger Mountain Community Park:
I love this park! It’s a place you can really wander freely. There are a couple trails, but I love going off the trails and just exploring! There’s also plenty of space in this park so even if there are other people there, you can feel like you have the place to yourself!
Badger Mt. Community Park is on the smaller hill across Keene Rd from the real Badger Mt. It has the gazebo on top that you can see from all over the TC.
The park has amazing 360 views of the entire Tri-Cities area! In one direction you see Badger Mt. and the rest of the ridges – Candy Mt., Red Mt., and Rattlesnake Mt in the distance. In the other, you see Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and the rivers.
It’s a great place to watch the sunset and have a picnic 🙂
The gazebo on top is a perfect spot to hang your hammock, meditate, drink a coffee, and look out over the beautiful Tri-Cities!
To get there, go behind Yolk’s on Keene Rd. and follow Englewood Dr. as it snakes its way up the hill to the very top. There’ll be a parking lot and some walking paths leading to the gazebo and beyond!
2. Badger Mountain:
When I go to Badger Mountain, it’s almost a spiritual experience! I feel like I’m really out of the city – in nature – and that I can relax and enjoy the smell of sagebrush.
Badger Mountain is probably the most popular place in town to go out for a hike – but you don’t always have to go on the path most traveled! There are plenty of trails to hike, but most people do the Canyon Trail that starts in Trailhead Park (which is also a really nice place to chill out on a sunny day!).
Other than the Canyon Trail, there’s also the Skyline Trail, Langdon Trail, Sagebrush Trail, and Badger Flats Trail – here’s more information on each one to decide which one to try out next!
If I’m trying to get away from the crowds and take a little easier route, I’ll start up the Canyon Trail then divert off of that almost immediately to the Sagebrush Trail which goes around to the back of the mountain.
I hardly ever run into anyone on that trail – which can be nice sometimes! On the Canyon Trail, it can feel like all of Tri-Cities is up there hiking!
We are really lucky to have these well-maintained trails on Badger Mt – and that’s thanks to a grassroots effort led by Friends of Badger Mountain.
Almost all the trails are wide and made out of crushed gravel. On some of the trails, you can even bring your horse or mountain bike. Be sure to check that you choose the right trail for your individual needs on the Friends of Badger Mountain website.
3. White Bluffs in the Hanford Reach National Monument
This is 300-square miles of pristine natural beauty to explore! My favorite part is climbing up the dazzling white bluffs and checking out the view from the top – looking out over the Columbia River towards the Hanford Site and Rattlesnake Mt.
One of the best sunsets I ever saw was from here – it was my desktop background for years. This is a place you want to see!
The Hanford Reach National Monument was created in 2000 out of part of the security boundary around the Hanford site. The Monument land practically unspoiled nature after being sequestered from the public for decades.
(Quick note: The Hanford Reach National Monument is HUGE and you can’t drive all the way through it from end to end. Make sure you go to the entrance on the Pasco side of the River as opposed to driving out of Richland towards Vantage … because that specific part of the Monument is still closed to the public.)
Fun fact: It has a LAKE called Saddle Mountain Lake. Although you can see it from the road, you can’t actually get into that part of the Monument so don’t try like I did last week!
So to get to the entrance that actually works to get you into the Monument, here are driving directions to get you there.
From there, there are several trails to choose from, or you can just explore sans trail. I’ve also seen people fishing out there – so might be some uncrowded fishing spots for you if you’re interested!
This is some real, unspoiled wilderness to explore.
Hope you enjoyed my Top 3 places to explore post! Where do you love to get outdoors and wander in the Tri-Cities area?