I finally made it to White Bluffs. It’s an amazing location to hike and explore geology, wildflowers, wildlife, and grand views. I highly recommend going.
During the Missoula Ice Age, glaciers and melting ice carved out the basin, leaving behind the exposed layers of ancient sediment and the path of the Columbia river. The white sands seem misplaced as they are surrounded by a freshwater river and a desert sagebrush habitat.
Many wildflowers flourish in these dry conditions. Mule’s ear, Larkspurs, and Linearleaf phacelia are sporadically found along the trail. Even the dainty Wingnut cryptantha thrive in this dry and exposed habitat.
We found evidence that deer had been there a little earlier. Quite often you may see raptors flying overhead or near the water. This particular day we caught a quick glimpse from the ridge of a waterfowl as it flew along the river’s edge below. Across the Columbia River, buildings of the Hanford Site dot the former agricultural and indigenous peoples’ land.
The trailhead is about an hour’s drive from the Tri-Cities and there are two ways to get there. One route is to take 240, then turn east on 24 for about 20 miles. There’s a small entrance road on your right. Follow the packed gravel road for about 2 miles to the parking area near the boat launch.
The second route goes through Pasco. Take Broadmoor to Taylor Flats, then turn left on Ringold Rd. You can go to the Ringold boat launch to catch the south trailhead. But if you want the north trailhead, turn right on Ringold River Rd. It’s approximately 9 miles to the parking area and trailhead.
A Discover pass is required. There is no porta-potty by the parking area and doesn’t appear to be one at the boat launch, either. There are plenty of shrubs near the parking area, though. Be sure to take plenty of water and a hat as it gets quite hot and there are no trees along the trail for shade.
The north trail will take you up along the hillside for 2 miles and then you’ll reach the white bluff sands. There is no trail through the sands so you may walk wherever you like. Take only pictures and leave only footprints for the winds will remove your footprints later.
Enjoy the hike. I’m sure the wildflowers will change throughout the season and wildlife visitors will vary as well. The views, however, will remain.
For more information on the geology of White Bluffs, please click HERE.
I'm Diana and welcome to my Wild Places Blog. Here I'll share adventures of finding wildlife, new images, and talks about gear.