There is no better way to burn off the thousands of Thanksgiving calories than to head out on a short hike with the In-Laws!
Badger Mountain is an obvious local high point for the people living in the tri-cities of southeastern Washington. The tree-less summit is located about 1,562 feet above sea level and accessible via a nice network of trails.
For those of you from Pugetopolis, this trail is probably the "Mt. Si of Eastern Washington". Lots of people were out on this holiday, despite the tendency for bone chilling wind gusts.
Our route (map provided at bottom of this report) involved about 800 feet of elevation gain, 3 miles of hiking (clockwise loop) and took us about 70 minutes: 1 hour of hiking, 10 minutes of snacking.
The mountain is treeless, except for the metal trees at the top ~ probably communication towers.
Following our route, clockwise, the ascending portion of the trail was about 1.7 miles of well packed gravel and kept a pretty even grade using a number of switchbacks.
The route back down was significantly steeper and the trail contained a lot more large sized loose rocks. This route is great for training purposes, but it also seriously increases the likelihood that you could trip or roll an ankle.
Personally, I enjoyed the entire loop because it gives you nice views around about 270 degrees of the mountain. Sure, the steeper route down doesn't really add any new distant views, but it does allow you to hike through a neat canyon. Surely trails on the west side of the Cascades have similar canyons, but they are filled with Devils Club, brush and trees so you can't really see them.
I'm looking forward to future visits to this trail in a broad variety of seasons, weather conditions and probably it will make a fantastic night hike sometime.
Stay tuned for the upcoming trip report for Hoypus Hill. While you are waiting for it maybe you should try to figure out what a Hoypus is.