Candy Mountain Interpretive Loop
Friends of Badger Mountain, in partnership with the local chapter of the Native Plant Society, Ice Age Floods Institute, and Benton County, established the Interpretive Loop Trail in the saddle of Candy Mountain. The loop is 1.2 miles long (round trip) starting from the parking lot and has very little elevation gain.
The CH2M sponsorship of the Candy Mountain Preserve included design and construction of monuments to honor and commemorate the generations of Hanford workers that have helped make the Tri‐Cities the vital and thriving community it is today.More Information
Thirty (30) native plant signs highlighting the Eastern Washington Sagebrush habitat and links below to the University of Washington, Burke Museum website provide lots more information and photos.
During the last ice age, the Tri-Cities experience some of the largest fresh water floods known to have happened anywhere on the plant. This is an incredible part of the geological history that shaped our area. Come and learn more on a gentle walk around the 1.2 mile Candy Mountain Interpretive loop.More Information
Mickie Chamness, Karl Fecht and other have created a geological map of Candy Mountain that is now on display in the Candy Mountain Preserve parking lot kiosk. A new basalt geology interpretive sign has been added to the Interpretive Loop Trail to tells the story of the basalt rocks in the saddle of Candy Mountain. The sign was installed by FOBM Volunteers David Comstock and Jim Langdon on Saturday 8/15/20. The new sign shows the extent of the largest overland lava flows know to have happened anywhere on Earth, known as The Columbia River Basalt Group. Did you know that our native rock is reddish-brown basalt and that basalt rock is over 1 mile thick in our area from multiple over land lava flows?
The basalt outcrops visible in the saddle of Candy Mountain flowed over thirty miles from ancient fissures in the earth’s crust near the modern-day location of the Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River. The over land lava flows were able to travel great distances due to the enormous volume of these eruptions and the cooling crust of these lava flows that insulated the very fluid molten core beneath. The Pomona flow traveled from fissures in west-central Idaho to the Pacific Ocean (over 350 miles), making it the longest known lava flow on Earth.
Native Plants of the Candy Mountain Preserve
The metal native plant signs were a wonderful collaborative effort. The metal signs were made by Columbia Basin College students in their metal welding class. The text and photos were provided by local chapter members of the Native Plant Society. Benton County Commissioner’s office staff did the final layout and formatting. Benton County paid for all the materials and label printing. Friends of Badger Mountain provided project management throughout the process. FOBM volunteers also primed and painted the metal signs, adhered the plant labels and installed the metal plant signs around the interpretive loop.
See the plant signs along the Interpretive Loop: (For more information on each native plant click on the Common Name below THEN click MORE INFORMATION to access the University of Washington Burke Museum website for a detail description of that specific native plant with distribution maps, lots of photos and more)
Wyoming Big Sagebrush | Gray Rabbitbrush | Green Rabbitbrush | Rock Buckwheat | Spiny Hospage | Bigseed Biscuitroot | Bluebunch Wheatgrass | Indian Ricegrass | Sandberg’s Bluegrass | Needle & Thread Grass | Cheatgrass | Carey’s Balsamroot | Long-Leaf Phlox | Turpentine Spring Parsley | Jim Hill’s Tumblemustard | Yarrow | Fiddleneck | Low Pussytoes | Low Buckwheat Milkvetch | Woolly-Pod Milkvetch | Dusty Maiden | Slender Hawksbeard | Threadleaf Fleabane | Piper’s Daisy | Munro’s Globemallow | Showy Townsend-Daisy | Hoary Aster | Crouching Milkvetch | Basalt Rock
(Artemisia tridentata spp. wyomingenisis)
NATIVE – The signature species of the shrubsteppe landscape, its evergreen leaves and abundant seed production provide an essential winter food source for many mammals and birds.More Information »
NATIVE – Narrow leaves covered in fine white hairs help tell this from green rabbitbrush. It’s covered in clusters of small yellow flowers in late summer. The pink mariposa lily just happened to grow here.More Information »
NATIVE – Narrow leaves that are green and hairless distinguish this from gray rabbitbrush. Yellow flowers cover the plant in late summer.More Information »
NATIVE – One of several buckwheat species in the region, rock buckwheat grows where the soil is very rocky. It has bright yellow flowers in spring.More Information »
NATIVE – Hopsage has separate male and female plants. The female has colorful bracts around the flowers in late spring. The leaves and seeds drop off in the heat of summer.More Information »
NATIVE – This low growing plant is an early spring bloomer in dry open spaces. It has a thick tuberous root.More Information »
NATIVE – The “State Grass” of Washington, it blankets much of the eastern half of the state with tall upright stems that provide shelter for ground-nesting birds.More Information »
NATIVE – Usually growing 1-2 feet tall in sandy soil, ricegrass has delicate stems topped by small round, hairy seeds in spring.More Information »
NATIVE – Usually topping out at less than 1 foot, this bunchgrass is shorter than most in our region, but is found broadly throughout the shrubsteppe.More Information »
NATIVE – Long tails (awns) at the end of the very pointed and sharp seed give this bunchgrass it’s common name. It grows up to 3 feet tall in dry sandy or gravelly soil, going dormant in summer.More Information »
NON-NATIVE – Invasive annual grass that transforms landscapes, filling the open spaces between native plants. After it displaces other species, it dries-out and leaves a carpet of fuel for wildfires.More Information »
NATIVE – Bright yellow flowers and large shiny green leaves make this plant easy to spot in spring.More Information »
NATIVE – Preferring silty or sandy soil, phlox has abundant small pink flowers in spring.More Information »
NATIVE – This perennial has flowers in early to mid-spring. It usually grows in sandy soil or other drought-stressed habitats.More Information »
NON-NATIVE – Originally from Europe, this annual weed grows up to 4 feet tall. When dry, the stem breaks off, tumbling to spread seeds.More Information »
NATIVE – Identifiable by its fern-like leaves and white flower clusters, yarrow is commonly found throughout Washington and from sea-level to the high mountains.More Information »
NATIVE – An annual, fiddleneck grows up to 15 inches tall with distinctive yellow flowers that uncoil as bloom progresses. Its tiny, sliver-like hairs are an annoying memento for hikers and gardeners.More Information »
NATIVE – A small, compact plant only an inch or two tall, low pussytoes has male and female flowers on separate plants in spring.More Information »
NATIVE – Stems and leaves are covered with white wooly hairs, making it look gray-green. Flowers are small, about ½ inch long.More Information »
NATIVE – A small plant with lavender pea-type flowers, followed by distinctive white fuzzy pods.More Information »
NATIVE – Distinctive clusters of white to pink flowers extend above finely toothed gray-green wooly leaves in spring.More Information »
NATIVE – Deeply toothed leaves sit below multiple stems bearing bright yellow flowers.More Information »
NATIVE – Very narrow leaves give this plant it’s name. Small white to pink daisy-type flowers in spring.More Information »
NATIVE – Small but obvious with its bright yellow inflorescence. We are fortunate to have healthy populations of this uncommon plant on Badger and Candy Mountains.More Information »
NATIVE – Common in the Mid-Columbia, its profuse orange flowers are unique in our area and can bloom late into the summer, creating striking scenes across dense populations.More Information »
NATIVE – A low-growing plant in the shrub-steppe, it has light pink to white flowers that are a little bigger than similar white daisy-types.More Information »
NATIVE – Pale lavender to bright blueish purple flowers arrive in the fall. It usually lives 2 years, getting bigger the second year.More Information »
NATIVE – One of the showiest milkvetches, crouching milkvetch has large clusters of purplishpink and white flowers in spring and curved pods in summer.More Information »
The reddish-brown rock that we see all around us here in the Columbia Basin is a volcanic rock called basalt. It erupted from giant fissures in the Earth’s surface in a series of events between 6 and 17 million years ago, covering thousands of square miles of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to a depth of over 2 miles in some places. Collectively, these volcanic flood episodes and the rock they created are called the “Columbia River Basalt Group.”More Information »