The Canyon Trail is the most popular trail on Badger Mountain with over 100,000 users a year. It is also the steepest with an average 15% grade. It has more than 60 steps at the start and in a little over a mile, it gains 800 feet to reach the summit. It is a 3 1/2 foot wide path paved with crushed rock. The surface is mostly smooth but can get rough.
Take the path from the Trailhead Park parking lot to the official start of the trail by the trailhead sign board. After climbing up the steps there is a junction. Continue straight ahead for the Canyon Trail or take a left on to the Sagebrush Trail
. At 0.4 miles there is a bench to rest on, at 0.5 miles you'll be on an open ridge with great views of the Tri-Cities. Further along the ridge is the Lake Lewis marker. During the Ice Age Floods this was about as the as high as the waters rose. Stand a moment and visualize the waves lapping at your feet while most everything you can see would have been deep under water.
The trail gains the final 300 feet to the summit passing a stone bench at the switchback corner where you can grab a quick rest. At just past the one mile marker, is the hiker-only sign where many runners turn around. There are great views from Rattlesnake Mountain to the west, the Tri-Cities just in front, and the Blue Mountains to the east. In clear weather, Mount Stuart can be seen as a triangular peak on the horizon to the northwest.
The trail continues up and to the left of the communication towers and then drops to connect up with the Skyline Trail
. From the backside of the towers there are great views to the east, south, and west. Mount Hood, Adams, and Rainier can be seen on clear days. You can continue east on the Skyline Trail
connecting with the Sagebrush Trail
for a different way back (follow the Trailhead Park Loop signs) or retrace your way down the Canyon Trail.
The Canyon Trail is open to hikers/runners only and dogs if they are on a leash. This is the only trail on Badger Mountain where bikes and horses are not allowed. The trail is wide enough to allow passing while everyone stays on the trail, so please stay on the trail. The desert vegetation is easily damaged and very slow to recover. There is no shade, so plan ahead in the summer.
Trailhead Park has restrooms, water, and a play area; there are no restrooms along the trail. There is also a kiosk with displays on the Ice Age Floods and local plants and animals. Next to the kiosk is a native plants garden.
The entire route is open dryland grasses and a few shrubs. In the spring, there are numerous wild flowers including balsam root, phlox, and wild mustard.