The abundance of wildlife in the Tri-Cities area makes for a great observing and learning experience. Watch the migration of waterfowl in the fall and spring seasons and see the subtle changes in local flora and fauna as the weather shifts. Get up close to Washington state wildlife at these great nature spots.
Amon Basin is created by the drainage of Amon Creek. Amon Creek and its associated wetlands and riparian areas provide a cool refuge for wildlife, including many bird species, beavers, river otters, jack rabbits and deer. www.tapteal.org
Audubon Nature Trail, located along the Columbia River in Columbia Park, provides a leisurely, paved loop perfect for birding enthusiasts looking for an easy trek. The trail includes a nature pond for insect and fish identification. www.lcbas.org
Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve is one of the last remaining shrub-steppe habitats bordering the southwestern edge of Tri-Cities. Hike, mountain bike, or take a horseback ride up Badger Mountain, where spectacular vistas of Tri-Cities and Columbia, Yakima, and Snake river valleys can be experienced. An interesting mix of small mammals are also found there. www.FriendsofBadger.org
Bateman Island is located on the Columbia River in south Richland. This remarkable island is classified as an Urban Watchable Wildlife Area. The public island is accessible via a small land bridge, with trails that make it easy to hike or mountain bike the entire island.
McNary National Wildlife Refuge is an important resting and feeding area for migratory waterfowl. Depending on the season, visitors have excellent chances to view many species of mammals, songbirds, waterfowl, and migratory birds. More than 212 species of birds are regularly sighted at the Refuge, including several endangered species. www.fws.gov/refuge/McNary
Tapteal Greenway/Chamna Natural Preserve is a 30-mile corridor along the Yakima River with trails, interpretive kiosks, signage, and trail maps. The Yakima River provides an intimate setting, winding through farmlands and thickly-vegetated riparian areas. Kayakers can explore countless sloughs, islands, and rapids on a river that is a popular breeding area for waterfowl and home to many species of Washington state wildlife. www.tapteal.org