Parks & Public Lands in Benton County
Benton County is home to many parks and boundless recreation opportunities. The County operates 10 of its own parks, with over 2,000 acres of recreation and conservation lands to enjoy. In all, about one-third of the county’s total land area is considered public lands, with the most significant portion owned by the U.S. Department of Energy – the Hanford Site.
In addition to the County’s own parks, Benton County is home to the Hanford Reach National Monument (established in 2000 by presidential proclamation), as well as clusters of state and federally owned lands. Portions of the Umatilla and McNary National Wildlife Refuges reside within the County, as well as the Rattlesnake Slope Wildlife Recreation Area.
Two of the County Parks – Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve and Candy Mountain Preserve – are popular hiking destinations within the Tri-Cities metro area for locals and travelers alike.
Boasting sweeping views of the native shrub-steppe habitat and over 10 miles of trails to enjoy between the two preserves, these trails are a respite for nature-lovers and are conveniently located for quick and easy access to amenities. These trail systems are maintained by the tireless volunteers at Friends of Badger Mountain – without their dedication and expertise, these parks wouldn’t be what they are today. With over 200,000 patron visits each year, Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve is one of the most visited parks in the Tri-Cities area.
The County also operates two popular riverside parks – Horn Rapids Park, north of Benton City, and Two Rivers Park, east of Kennewick.
Horn Rapids Park is the only County Park where overnight camping is available, and boasts a horse camp, model airplane facility, boat launch, and miles of multi-use trails for bicyclists, hikers, and equestrians. Protected by over five miles of Yakima River frontage on one side and public lands on the other, Horn Rapids Park offers over 800 acres of transitional river-to-upland shrub-steppe habitat that is accessible and relatively quiet. The Park is renowned as a sanctuary for both quantity and variety of dragonflies and birds, causing it to be a bit of a destination for nature photographers bird watchers.
Two Rivers Park is the County’s most developed park property with a playground, picnic sites, nature trails, large lawns, three sheltered lagoons, and a fully developed disc golf course. Two Rivers is also home to the last downstream, developed boat launch in the Tri-Cities. Two Rivers Park is a favorite for paddle sports, with the lagoons providing an optimal place for calm waters and beautiful scenery.
Come visit one, or all, of our parks on your next visit – the shrub-steppe awaits.