Spring in southeastern Washington is an incredibly beautiful time of year to get outdoors. Clusters of balsamroot flowers burst open among the sagebrush and grasslands, making a patchwork of color that brings new life to the shrub-steppe terrain. In the Tri-Cities area, a network of trails lets you easily explore this landscape on a day hike and still finish the day at one of the local wineries.
Candy Mountain Trail is a relative newcomer to the area’s network of trails. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views from the White Bluffs over the Columbia River to Horse Heaven Hills. At the summit, it has 360-degree views that include Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.
Keep an eye out for the birds that frequent the mountain, including kestrels, nightjars, magpies, chukars, quails and horned larks.
You’ll have a choice of two trails on Candy Mountain—the Main Trail and the Loop Trail. The 3.6-mile (round trip) Main Trail takes you to the summit and is open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. Dogs are welcome on a leash. From trailhead to summit, it’s a steady climb with a 555-foot elevation gain, much of it on a 10-percent grade. Along the way, you’ll pass an erratic boulder that marks the maximum surface elevation of Lake Lewis, the temporary lake created during the Ice Age Flood
The Loop Trail is shorter and easier but does not go to the summit.
For more information about the trail, go to friendsofbadger.org/ making-the-candy-mountain-trail. Plan your Tri-Cities getaway at visittri-cities.com.