Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Trail Report: White Bluffs (Hanford Reach National Monument)

My final hike of the central Washington trip was White Bluffs in Hanford Reach National Monument. The drive to the trailhead involved another gravel road, but like the roads in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, it was in good condition.

There isn't a lot in this area, and I could see for a long way during my drive in. There were three other cars at the trailhead and I did see a few people on this hike, but I got the impression that it's an area with a low amount of visitors.

On the drive into the area, it was flat land for miles around.

The hike was awesome and the area is gorgeous! The trail started in a field of grasses rippling in the wind and gradually climbed onto the bluffs. From the bluffs, there was a view of the Columbia River and also of Saddle Mountain in the distance. Most of the trail was sand and it was windy much of the time, so I ended up covered in sand by the end of the hike. I did see one snake stretched out across the trail. I gave him some space and took a few pictures of the surrounding area while I waited for him to crawl off the trail.

My favorite part was the sand dunes. Seeing sand dunes in person has been on my bucket list for a while, and I appreciate that we have some small ones in my own state and that I didn't have to go somewhere like the Sahara! Walking on and photographing the sand dunes was challenging because of all the blowing sand. I had to keep my back to it and walk backwards or sideways. The trail did continue through the sand dunes, but I turned around here so my hike was only four or five miles instead of seven.

While the somewhat desolate location might not appeal to everyone, I had a great time here and want to come back. I feel as though it's a unique area and offers the opportunity to see scenery that can't be found in many other places in the state or the Pacific Northwest.

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