The Badger Mountain Skyline Loop hike is a wonderful year round hike near the Tri-Cities in Southeast Washington. This hike is particularly stunning in spring when the yellow and purple wildflowers are in bloom and light up the desert landscape. The sunny and warm spring days that are the norm here make Tri-Cities a terrific spring destination in the Pacific Northwest.
There are several different trails on Badger Mountain. This article describes my favorite option – a loop starting with the Langdon Trail and connecting with the Skyline Trail for a 5.5 mile loop with about 700 feet of elevation gain.
Accessibility and Mobility: This trail is very well graded. There is some uphill involved, but it never gets extremely steep and there are no steps or boulders or roots to navigate here. Most of the trail is gravel or dirt.
There’s no question that spring is the best time to hike Badger Mountain. The sunny warm days that aren’t too hot combined with the stunning yellow and purple wildflowers all over the place make it absolutely ideal in April and May.
The weather is also excellent in the fall with clear sunny and warm days, although there aren’t the stunning wildflowers. Winter can get quite cold and there is occasionally snow so as long as you’re prepared for that it can be a wonderful winter hike.
Summer is very hot and there are plenty of rattlesnakes out, so make sure to have lots of water and sun protection if you’re doing this hike in the summer.
Where do you park for the Badger Mountain Skyline Trail Loop?
For this loop hike, you’ll be parking at the Westgate Trailhead on the west side of Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve off Dallas Road. There is also a trailhead on the other side off Keene Road that takes the Canyon Trail.
From the Westgate trailhead parking lot, follow the trail up the side of Badger Mountain, climbing gently for a short distance. You’ll quickly come to a junction, and I like to go to the right to start the hike on the Langdon Trail.
Once on the Langdon Trail, you’ll be going on a mostly flat and perfectly built trail around the side of Badger Mountain. The trail goes in and out of several (usually dry) gullies, which look like switchbacks on the map but they’re not. This trail is mostly flat for 2.5 miles.
Along the way, keep your eyes out for distant mountains to your right and an apple orchard closer to you. As you make your way around the mountain, you’ll start to have more views of the Tri-Cities area, Candy Mountain and the Columbia River. If it’s April or May, a stunning array of wildflowers will great you along this trail. You’ll see the cheery yellow balsamroot to the bright purple lupin and plenty of others.
As you get close to the end of this trail, there is a bit of an uphill incline to the junction with the Skyline Trail. Turn left here to begin climbing towards the top of Badger Mountain.
By the way, if you wanted to keep your hike mostly flat, you could return the way you came.
If you continue on, you’ll reach the halfway point as the trail climbs up towards the summit. Keep climbing on a manageable grade. At about the 4 mile mark, you’ll begin traversing near the top of Badger Mountain.
There are lots of radio towers at the actual summit, you can take a very short detour to tag up with them, or continue to pass just below and enjoy even more views. Views are now 360 degrees all around you! You’ll see the Tri-Cities, the Columbia River and other mountains both near and far.
Continue to traverse the top of the mountain, taking in views and wildflowers the whole time. At about 4.5 miles in (about a mile before you get back to the trailhead), the trail crosses a gravel road. Keep going across it and pick up the trail on the other side. It sort of looks like the trail is going the wrong direction but it will quickly turn back towards the trailhead.
The final mile is downhill with a few switchbacks. You’ll be able to see the parking lot a little ways away so you know you’re almost there!
This time when you reach the junction with the Langdon Trail, head to the right for the short walk down to your car. You’ll be able to see cars in the parking lot so it should be pretty clear that’s the right way.
Wineries and Breweries to visit after hiking Badger Mountain
One of the wonderful things about hiking in Washington wine country is that there are not shortage of fantastic winery stops after your hike!
Two great options right near the trailhead are Goose Ridge Estate Winery and Kitzke Cellars. Kitzke is one of my favorite wineries in the entire area, but both wineries are excellent. Neither serve food but you can bring in your own.
If beer is more your thing, head over to Bombing Range Brewing Company for their delicious beer as well as amazing house made mac and cheese (multiple kinds!) and pizza.
Electric Vehicle Charging
High Speed charging is available at Kohl’s in Richland and a Shell station off I-82. On the drive to Badger Mountain from Seattle, there is charging in North Bend, Snoqualmie Pass, Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Yakima and Prosser. Between Spokane and Badger Mountain, there is fast charging in Connell and Ritzville. On the drive from Portland, there is fast charging in Hood River and The Dalles.
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years. I've been a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best low key adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!
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