In 2016, the Friends of Badger Mountain bought 195 acres of land on Candy Mountain overlooking the Tri Cities area. The trail here, built by more than 240 volunteers and officially opened in June of 2017, was the first trail built on Badger Mountain by the Friends of Badger Mountain and nicely complements the trail network at Badger Mountain across the road. Between the two preserves, Friends of Badger Mountain has provided some of the best close-in hiking options in the Tri-Cities area.
The trail on Candy Mountain is relatively easy compared to the network at Badger. Keep your eyes peeled for one that's a little different -- it's granite, an erratic deposited during the retreat of the ice sheets.
From the parking lot, hikers travel on a graveled road, crossing private property twice before entering into the Preserve area. With a nice, flat grade, the trail climbs gently all the way to the summit.
There is a junction after about a quarter of a mile. You can go either way, as the trail connects back to itself after about a third of a mile. The right branch of the trail will take you past some native boulders and along the ridge top with views to the north. The left branch of the trail follows along a re-purposed old road lined with sagebrush.
Once the trail joins back up, keep heading up the summit past basalt stones designated for those who need a rest along the way. You will also pass a small monument dedicated to the history of the Hanford Site. This monument, as well as the other along the trail and in the parking lot, are part of a large donation by the CH2M Company that helped make securing the land possible.
As you continue up the mountain, just past an access road, you will find a boulder marking the maximum height of the ancient Lake Lewis during the Ice Age Floods. Lake Lewis was the gigantic temporary lake formed by the great Missoula Floods 11,000 years ago.
After a half mile, the grade increases just a bit, becoming just steep enough to make you feel like you're working. The trail ends at the top offering a lovely view of the valley. The summit itself is private land, opened to the public by the landowners. Respect this fact, and do not disturb the items at the top. When you're finished taking in the view, head back the way you came.
WTA Pro Tip: Candy Mountain burned in 2017 and the environment is fragile. Please stay on the trail. While multiuse, the route is wide enough for all users to pass without stepping off trail.