Badger Mountain Trails
Badger Mountain gives you beautiful views of the Columbia Basin you won’t get anywhere else in the Tri-Cities. Rising to 1,579 feet at its highest point, the mountain features 5 unique trails that will give you a unique challenge, whether you’re on foot, bike, or horse. Find out more about each below.
The Skyline Trail starts from the Westgate parking lot off of Dallas Road. It generally runs the ridgeline of Badger Mountain until it meets the Sagebrush and Langdon Trail at the tripple junction on the east edge of the preserve. It is a 3 1/2 foot wide path paved with crushed rock and has an average 10% grade. The surface is mostly smooth but can be rough in places.
The trail leaves the parking lot next to the kiosk. For the first half mile, the trail climbs steadily in scattered sagebrush. At about the half mile point there is an intersection with the Langdon Trail branching off to the right. The Skyline Trail continues climbing crossing a service road and the landscape changes to mostly dryland grasses with numerous balsamroot in the spring.
At 1.3 miles, the trail crosses the service road again and switches to the south side of Badger Mountain. From here to the junction with the Canyon Trail at mile two, it follows the contours gaining slowly gaining elevation to its high point. Take a left onto the Canyon Trail for the last 40 feet elevation to the summit and best views (and radio towers) or continue straight ahead.
For the next 0.7 miles, the trail gradually descends to where it crosses the service road one final time. From here to the end it wanders through sagebrush until meeting the Langdon and Sagebrush Trail at just under 3 miles from the start.
The options are to either retrace your route, take the Langdon Trail back to the Westgate parking lot (about the same distance) or drop down the Sagebrush Trail and then climb up the Canyon Trail to meet back up with the Skyline Trail by the summit and then return to the parking lot.
The trail is wide and surfaced with gravel. Please stay on the trail and do not cut the curves. The trail is popular with mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers but there is ample room to allow passing without leaving the trail. There are no services such as restrooms or water available once you leave the parking lot.
Flora & Fauna: The trail travels through sagebrush at both ends transitioning to dryland native grasses in the middle. There are numerous balsamroot and some purple sagebrush in the spring.
Features: Views — Wildflowers
The Canyon Trail is the most popular trail on Badger Mountain with over 100,000 users a year. It is also the steepest with an average 15% grade. It has more than 60 steps at the start and in a little over a mile, it gains 800 feet to reach the summit. It is a 3 1/2 foot wide path paved with crushed rock. The surface is mostly smooth but can get rough.
Take the path from the Trailhead Park parking lot to the official start of the trail by the trailhead sign board. After climbing up the steps there is a junction. Continue straight ahead for the Canyon Trail or take a left on to the Sagebrush Trail. At 0.4 miles there is a bench to rest on, at 0.5 miles you’ll be on an open ridge with great views of the Tri-Cities. Further along the ridge is the Lake Lewis marker. During the Ice Age Floods this was about as the as high as the waters rose. Stand a moment and visualize the waves lapping at your feet while most everything you can see would have been deep under water.
The trail gains the final 300 feet to the summit passing a stone bench at the switchback corner where you can grab a quick rest. At just past the one mile marker, is the hiker-only sign where many hikers turn around. There are great views from Rattlesnake Mountain to the west, the Tri-Cities just in front, and the Blue Mountains to the east. In clear weather, Mount Stuart can be seen as a triangular peak on the horizon to the northwest.
The trail continues up and to the left of the communication towers and then drops to connect up with the Skyline Trail. From the backside of the towers there are great views to the east, south, and west. Mount Hood, Adams, and Rainier can be seen on clear days. You can continue east on the Skyline Trail connecting with the Sagebrush Trail for a different way back (follow the Trailhead Park Loop signs) or retrace your way down the Canyon Trail.
The Canyon Trail is open to hikers/runners only and dogs if they are on a leash. This is the only trail on Badger Mountain where bikes and horses are not allowed. The trail is wide enough to allow passing while everyone stays on the trail, so please stay on the trail. The desert vegetation is easily damaged and very slow to recover. There is no shade, so plan ahead in the summer.
Trailhead Park has restrooms, water, and a play area; there are no restrooms along the trail. There is also a kiosk with displays on the Ice Age Floods and local plants and animals. Next to the kiosk is a native plants garden.
Flora & Fauna: The entire route is open dryland grasses and a few shrubs. In the spring, there are numerous wild flowers including balsam root, phlox, and wild mustard.
Features: Views — Wildflowers
Family Friendly: Easy grade, wide, lots of beetles and flowers seasonally, can’t get lost.
The trail follows the natural contours of the Badger Mountain south slope, curving into and out of the gullies. It passes through open grass slopes and thick stands of native sagebrush while staying a few hundred feet away the orchard below. Because it is on the south slope, spring comes early with Balsam Root and other flowers scattered about. In April, the apple blossoms will be in bloom. Numerous old coyote dens can be seen, mostly around the gullies.
The trail is wide and surfaced with gravel. Please stay on the trail and do not cut the curves. The trail is popular with mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers but there is ample room to allow passing without leaving the trail. There are no services such as restrooms or water available.
Flora & Fauna: Kestrels, nightjars, magpies, maybe a chukkar or quail, horned lark. Beetles, bull snakes, ground squirrel, coyote. Piper’s Daisy, Balsam Root, Giant and Purple Sage, Rabbit Brush, Yellow Bells (fritillaria), biscuitroot (lomatia), penstemon, lupine, buckwheats, phlox, winterfat and numerous others.
Features: Views — Wildflowers
The Sagebrush Trail is part of an easier route to the summit of Badger Mountain from Trailhead Park. It has an average slope of less than 10%, is wide and the surface is paved with crushed rock. It is smooth, but can have some dips or holes.
To get to the lower end of trail, follow the Canyon Trail to the top of the steps, the Sagebrush Trail then starts off to the left. It climbs the northeast flank of Badger Mountain in an open dryland grass slope for the first half mile then enters an old stand of sagebrush. The trail ends at a three-way intersection with the Langdon Trail and the Skyline Trail. From here the most common route is to continue to the summit on the Skyline Trail and then back down to Trailhead Park and your car via the Canyon Trail for a 3+ mile loop. Another loop is to take the Langdon Trail to its west end and then loop back via the summit using the Skyline Trail and Canyon Trail for a 6.3-mile journey.
The trail is in open terrain with no shade available so plan accordingly in the summer. In the winter, the trail can get icy and any snow can be slow to melt because the trail faces north and east. Please stay on the trail and do not cut the curves. The trail is popular with mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers but there is ample room to allow passing without leaving the trail. The desert vegetation is easy to damage and takes a long time to recover.
There is ample parking at Trailhead Park along with restrooms, water and a playground. There is also a kiosk with displays on the Ice Age Floods, local plants and other information. There are no other restrooms or sources of water along the trail.
Flora & Fauna: The trail starts out in open grasses before entering thick old sagebrush. Spring flowers include balsamroot and phlox.
The Badger Flats Trail was built as 4 Eagle Scout projects and was graveled in a few hours by a combination of all the local Rotary Clubs. It was designed for those that wanted to get outdoors and hike near Badger Mountain but were not looking for the elevation gain. It is a wide and gentle path that is surfaced with crushed rock.
The trail is built from three parts. The first was the existing trail from the parking lot to the kiosk that is used by the hikers going up Badger Mountain. It then heads out into the open terrain of Trailhead Park across dry land native grasses following an old two track road. it then returns to the parking lot via an all new twisty path. The trail can be combined with the Canyon Trail and Sagebrush Trail for a little variety and added distance.
The trail is wide enough to allow passing while everyone stays on the trail so please stay on the trail. The desert vegetation is easily damaged and very slow to recover. Trailhead Park has restrooms, water and a play area. The route passes a kiosk with displays on the Ice Age Floods and local plants and animals, and next to the kiosk is a native plants garden.
Flora & Fauna: The trail passes through native dryland grasses and sagebrush.
- Do not harass wildlife – including rattlesnakes
- Leave no trace behind. Please take out what you take in.
- No open fires
- Watch out for rattlesnakes
- All other County Park Rules apply
- Stay on graveled trails
- Be careful not to damage flora, fauna, or landscape
- Respect other trail users
- Respect private property
- Dogs are allowed on all trails but are to be on leash
Trails open to...
Individuals, Mountain Bikes, Horses
- Skyline Trail
- Sagebrush Trail
- Langdon Trail
Individuals, Mountain Bikes
- Badger Flats Trail
- Canyon Trail
Directions to the Trailheads
From I-182, take the Queensgate Exit southbound and proceed to Keene. Turn left.
Once on Keene, turn onto Shockley Road (near the Bethel Church). Take Shockley until it ends, turning left into Queensgate Drive. Continue up the hill until you reach the stop sign. Turn right onto White Bluffs Street and then a left into the Badger Mountain Trail parking lot next to the cinder block pump house.
From I-82, take the Dallas Road Exit northbound, headed toward West Richland. Before you go underneath I-182 you’ll see a sign on your left for the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve. Turn right when you see the sign and you’ll approach the parking lot on your right.
From Richland/West Richland, drive down Keene headed westbound until you reach the Bombing Range Road traffic circle. Take the exit toward the mountain. Proceed up the road past I-182 and watch for the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve on your right. Turn left when you see the sign and the you’ll approach the parking lot on your right.
Here are a few hints for hiking Badger Mt. when there’s snow and ice.
- The trails were not designed and are not maintained for use in the winter. That doesn’t mean they are closed, just that you are hiking or riding at your own risk. Remember that Badger Mt. is a hill and the trails all have considerable slope when there are icy conditions.
- Use the Skyline Trail out of the Westgate parking lot (off Dallas Road). This trail gets less snow because the wind tends to blow it off. It will also get a good dose of whatever sun there is, and will melt clear long before the Canyon Trail does. Parts of the Canyon Trail will not even see the sun in the winter.
- There are things you can bring to help, such as hiking poles and the grippers you strap to the soles of your boots. These are available in the local sporting goods stores.
- If the roads are icy, the trails will be, too. Come prepared.
- There is a barrel with sand in it at the start of the Canyon Trail steps. However, if you need the sand at that point, you can bet that the rest of the trail will be slick, too.
- When the spring thaw comes, the trail will get muddy in places. That’s because although the ground has thawed the first couple of inches, there is still frozen earth below that. The snow and ice that melts has no place to soak in. Please don’t walk out of the trail to avoid the mud, it will be there, too.