The trail on Candy Mountain is an easy short trail of 3.4 miles up and back, round-trip. The trail features sweeping views of the area from the White Bluffs along the Columbia River to the Horse Heaven Hills and from the top, 360-degree views with Mt. Adams, Rainier, and Stuart visible on clear days. It is in open shrub-steppe terrain moving from sagebrush to open grasslands.
Candy Mountain Preserve is a new 195-acre Benton County park south of West Richland, Washington. The preserve starts low in a collection of 5 acre parcels then continues up to the 1391 foot summit of Candy Mountain, including all of the east face. The trail leads to the summit and was completed in December of 2016. It starts from a parking lot off of private road East 669PR NE, near the Dallas Rd I-82 overpass. The spacious lot has room for at least 45 vehicles and a few horse trailers. There is a portable toilet only at the parking lot and trash service and water are not available anywhere on the trail. Bring plenty of water and pack out your trash, including your dog's poo.
The trail is wide and surfaced with gravel. Please stay on the trail and do not cut the curves. The trail is popular with hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers, but there is ample room to allow passing without leaving the trail.
The trail starts out easy, gaining only 60 feet in the first half mile. It leaves the parking lot on a converted road, crosses a private road twice, and then skirts it again before entering into the preserve proper. Here it wanders past some boulders as it crosses and then follows the ridge top with views to the north. At a half mile the trail transitions to a steady 10% grade to the summit. Just after the first access road crossing is a boulder that marks the maximum elevation of Lake Lewis, the temporary lake created during the Ice Age Flood, see iafi.org
for more information. The rest of the boulders along the trail were removed during construction.
The trail ends at the summit. The five acres of the summit is private land the owners are kindly letting the public use. Please do not disturb their antenna facility. You need to reverse your course to return to the parking lot.
This trail is another piece of an envisioned 20 mile long trail system that would connect Red Mountain to Claybell Park below Little Badger and includes the 4 trails on Badger Mountain. You can connect to the Badger Mtn. trails by using the shoulder of Dallas Road. A separate path is planned.
The wildlife and plants on Candy Mountain are very similar to those found Badger Mountain. Birds you might see include kestrels, nightjars, magpies, chukkars, quail, and horned larks. Other animals are bull snakes, ground squirrels, coyote, lizards, and beetles. Plants include Piper's Daisy, Balsam Root, Giant and Purple Sage, Rabbit Brush, Winterfat, Yellow Bells (fritillaria), Biscuitroot (lomatia), penstemon, lupine, buckwheats, phlox, and numerous others.