Badger Skyline Trail – 100 Classic Hike of Washington

Badger Skyline Cover Photo Exploren Borgen

The Badger Skyline Trail brings hikers, walkers, runners, and bikers in a loop trail around Badger Mountain. The initial incline from the parking lot brings hikers to a fork where they can decide which way around the mountain they would like to recreate. I chose clockwise. The trail is well maintained and provides ample space for people to hike past each other without going off trail.

Read up on the Hiking Essentials: Ten Essentials of Hiking

Badger Mountain Trail

General Information:

Region: Eastern Washington

Distance: 5.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 1100 feet

When to go: Year-Round

Pass/Permit?:  NA

Dogs Allowed?: Yes- On Leash

Restroom:  Porta Potty at Trailhead

The trailhead had plenty of parking and a porta potty for visitors. When I completed the hike on a Saturday Morning around 8am there were a number of people on the trail and some were even finishing it when I arrived. By the time I completed the trail 2 hours later, there were more people on the trail. Many people were walking or running with their dog and a couple dogs were off leash. We also pulled over for a biker who was completing the trail.

Badger Skyline Trailhead

The trail leads hikers around Badger Mountain through sagebrush and tall grasses up to an overlook with radio towers and expansive views of the Columbia River Basin, vineyards, farmland, and Richland, WA. One of the prominent visible features on the trail is that of the Ancient Lake Lewis which was formed during the Missoula Flood 13,000 years ago. The flood was so significant that Badger Mountain became an island. There are different plaques around the trail pointing hikers in the direction of these historical sites with short readings to learn about the history. I love when trails have them!

Skyline Trail on Foggy Morning

When I completed the hike it was a cool morning and fog covered most of the views. However, I found that the hike was even more beautiful in the fog. With the elevation gain I managed to hike above the cloudline, seeing expansive views. When I find myself in nature I find that I want to be removed from the busy city life, so I was not disappointed to miss the view of Richland, WA. You could however still hear the traffic on the busy highway that runs near the trail.  

The trail information on Washington Trails Association aligned best with the information provided in “100 Classic Hikes of Washington” with 5.8 miles, round trip and 1100 feet gain. The trail information on AllTrails is 7.0 miles because it brings hikers to the two different trailheads. I posted my route below which came out to 6.0 miles and 866 gain from cutting off the hike to the alternative trailhead.

Badger Skyline Trail

It seems to be more of an exercise trail than a trail people hike for views. After about the 4th mile in, I was a little tired of seeing the same sagebrush and fog leading me to believe that the views without the fog would be preferred but there is something beautiful about the trail on a cloudy day. Even if it is a little repetitive. This is a trail I do not anticipate hiking again, but I am happy for the experience.

Should Badger Skyline Trail be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington?

After learning the history of the area and what has been done in the tri cities to preserve this land for others to enjoy, I do believe it should remain in the 100 Classic Hikes of Washington book. There are a number of other trails in the Badger Mountain area, but I did not have time to complete them, therefore I cannot suggest anything better so far. Check back later to see my review of the others!

Has there been I hike I DIDN’T think should be included? YES!: Read About Mount Si

I completed Badger Skyline trail. Now what?

I enjoyed hiking this trail in the morning, so when I was finished getting a cup of coffee was a MUST. So I headed into Richland, WA and went to Indaba Coffee. I ordered their signature latte, homemade butterscotch, and it was delicious! At 10am the tables were full which led me to believe that this was a great spot to go for locals.

Indaba Coffee Post Hike

Interested in this hike? Save it!

Badger Skyline Pin #2
Badger Skyline Trail Pin 1

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