Trail Etiquette

Fire Danger on Badger Mt.

Benton county uses the following five levels to describe potential fire danger. In summer, hikers can assume that the level on Badger Mt is always at Very High or Extreme. Treat the mountain with care. County rules allow for NO open fires of any kind in the Preserve. Note that shooting is also not allowed, because of the potential fire hazard.

EXTREME - Fires will start very easily and spread very rapidly. Every fire start has the potential to become large. Expect extreme, erratic fire behavior. Except for permitted emergency agricultural operations, NO OUTDOOR BURNING IS PERMITTED DURING EXTREME FIRE DANGER.

VERY HIGH - Fires start easily from all causes and may spread faster than suppression resources can travel. Flame lengths will be long with high intensity, making control very difficult. Both suppression and mop-up will require an extended and very thorough effort. PUBLIC OUTDOOR BURNING IS NOT PERMITTED with the exception of a legal recreational fire within a metal fire ring.

HIGH - Wildfires are likely. Fires in heavy, continuous fuel such as mature grassland, CRP fields and forest litter, will be difficult to control under windy conditions. Control through direct attack may be difficult but possible and mop-up will be required. PUBLIC OUTDOOR BURNING IS NOT PERMITTED with the exception of a legal recreational fire within a metal fire ring.

MODERATE - Some wildfires may be expected. Expect moderate flame length and rate of spread. Control is usually not difficult and light to moderate mop-up can be expected. Although controlled burning can be done without creating a hazard, routine caution should be taken.

LOW - Fire starts are unlikely. Weather and fuel conditions will lead to slow fire spread, low intensity and relatively easy control with light mop-up. Controlled burns can usually be executed with reasonable safety.

How to escape a fire








Hiking Badger Mt. in Winter

In December, 2012, Trailmaster Jim Langdon was interviewed on a local radio station, and had these tips for hiking in winter.

Hiking Badger in winter With winter now in full bloom, here are a few hints for hiking Badger Mt. when there's snow and ice.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. If the roads are icy, the trails will be, too. Come prepared.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Access Points and Trails shown below (updated July, 2013).
For a much larger view, try this JPEG (0.7 MB) or, for a page-sized version to print, try this PDF (0.5 MB).

Badger trail map

Location of Badger Mountain Trailheads in Benton County, Washington
(Click on the map for a larger image)

For the following trail descriptions, if you have Google Earth installed on your computer, you can click the appropriate link to open the trail in that program.

Skyline Trail - 3.0 miles (hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders)
5305 East 210 PR NE, Richland, WA (which is also the main address for the Badger Mt Preserve)

Canyon Trail - 1.3 miles (hikers)
525 Queensgate Dr, Richland, WA (this address marks Trailhead Park)

Sagebrush Trail - 0.6 mile (hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders)

Badger Flats Trail - 0.4 mile (hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders)

See WTA article from the November/December issue about our trailbuilding effort.

See 2005 and 2006 photos of our trailbuilding efforts.

Have any trail questions or comments? Want something improved or fixed? Give me a call (943-3992) or drop me an email to Jim.

Master Plan

Benton County is undertaking a master planning process for parks and open space. For more information on Benton County’s master planning process, contact Adam Fyall, Community Development Coordinator, Benton County Commissioners' Office, 509-736-3053.

The first phase of acquisition of Badger Mountain is complete. Additional phases are being discussed. Thanks to all who donated, volunteered, wrote letters, or helped in other ways.


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Access and Trails

Badger Mountain trails are open to the public for muscle-powered sports. One trail built in the fall of 2005 is for hikers only. A second trail built in the fall of 2006 is for hikers, mountain bikers and horse back riders. No motorized vehicles are allowed.

Trail Strategy

Benton County hosted meetings with user groups and the public over the fall, winter and spring of 2007-2008 to get input for a master long range plan for the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve, as well as parks and open space in the County in general. The plan is expected to be completed in the fall of 2008.

Here's a local Web site, Hike Tri-Cities, that lists a wonderful assortment of hiking opportunties in the Tri-Cities area, including Badger Mountain.

Over 600,000 visitors were counted since April, 2008

Hikers on Badger Mountain rarely find themselves alone, and they might wonder just how many people take to the trails each year. Now we know. The electronic counters at the base of both the Canyon Trail and the Skyline Trail showed that over 227,000 hikers passed by from Apil 2008 through the end of 2010, and 170,000 were counted in 2012 alone. In the first four months of 2013, over 50,000 visitors were counted. You can see the specifics here. These do seem like astronomical numbers, and that's surely one measure of success for the Badger Mountain Preserve.

Flowers of Badger Mt Brochure (new version as of Oct. 2012)

Flora brochure
Check out our gorgeous new two-page brochure that shows the flowering plants on Badger Mt. in bloom-sequence time. Click the image to download the PDF file (4 MB)

Many thanks to friends of Badger Mountain Max Conner and Keith Abel for the photos and to Ann Roberts and Max for their efforts in producing this brochure.