In the charming town of Richland, you’ll find plenty of things to do on a day trip from Walla Walla. Stopping by the Hanford Reach National Monument is one of the best places for hiking, birdwatching, or paddling on the Columbia River. This area is known for the White Bluffs, striking mountainous dunes in a sandy hue. These gigantic dunes arise from the river’s shores; this is where you’ll find some of the best views of this desert landscape and hiking trails.
The Hanford Reach National Monument is an intriguing part of US history—once an operating nuclear plant, created as part of the Manhattan Project in 1943. The plant has since been decommissioned, and clean-up has been a community effort over the years. Hanford Reach is named after the approximately 51-mile free-flowing section of the Columbia River. The early indigenous peoples used this land for hunting and fishing, and the Reach Museum on-site showcases the history and changes of the area. At the museum, you’ll find galleries and rotating exhibits inside and a beautiful outdoor space with a garden of local plant species and sculptures designed by local artists.
Whether you’re heading to Hanford Reach National Monument for hiking, paddling, or education, you’ll want to have a quiet and comfortable place for your lodging. Our Walla Walla Bed and Breakfast is about an hour from Richland, but we’re the best home base for exploring all the Tri-Cities have to offer. From beautiful bluffs and nature trails to museums and wine tastings, a day trip to Richland is a great activity to add to your itinerary. After your day’s adventure, comfort and relaxation await you at Cameo Heights Mansion, we can’t wait to host you; reserve your room today!
Visit the Hanford Reach National Monument & More
The Hanford Reach National Monument is a hidden gem in Richland, WA, especially for those who prefer off-the-beaten-path adventures. The Hanford Reach National Monument website says it best, “the Monument is a land of extremes—heat and cold, water and desert, ancient and modern.” It’s advised that visitors who plan on venturing into the wilderness prepare accordingly and pack extra water, gear, and such.
Here are the best things to do at the Hanford Reach National Monument:
- Hiking in the White Bluffs: There are no formal trails on the Monument. A few social paths exist, the main one starting at the White Bluffs Boat Launch and following the old wagon train route. You should know ahead of time that these “trails” are not clearly marked, and the Washington Trails Association has a detailed route for guests to consider. Either way, strolling in the area will offer visitors a beautiful vista of the white bluffs—for beginners, stick to the White Bluffs Cabin Trail—under a half mile and gives a great overall feel for the location.
- Paddle the Hanford Reach: This area is popular for kayakers! The Handford Reach paddling trip takes you from Vernita Bridge to the White Bluffs Boat Launch. As you float along, you’ll be below the towering White Bluffs and pass by the decommissioned nuclear reactors and other remnants of the plutonium production infrastructure.
- Birdwatching: During a summer trip, you’ll likely see white pelicans, great egrets, and great blue herons gliding along the Columbia River. Spring and Fall bring troves of migrating neotropical birds. And in the winter, bald eagles move into the area.
Other Things to do in Richland, WA:
After you’ve explored the Hanford Reach National Monument, head into the charming small town of Richland for the museum, lunch or an early dinner, and maybe even a little wine tasting.
- REACH Museum: You’ll find exhibits and galleries to explore, some related to the Hanford Reach National Monument, others focused on arts and education. Be sure to check out the gardens and sculptures.
- Sacagawea Heritage Trail: Take a walk or bike along the beautiful 23-mile Sacagawea Heritage Trail along the banks of the Columbia River. There are several great hiking and biking trails in this area, in addition to this fantastic trail on the water.
- Goose Ridge Winery: One of the best Washington wineries is in Richland, WA. You’ll find the cozy tasting room surrounded by the 2,500-acre vineyard.
- Monterosso’s Italian Restaurant: Located in a vintage Pullman train car, this old-school Italian joint is a great stop to fuel up after an adventure at the Hanford Reach National Monument.
Stay at the Best Walla Walla Bed and Breakfast
On any trip out to Eastern Washington, you’ll see that there are so many things to do in the Tri-Cities area. And one of the best things to do is stay at Cameo Heights Mansion, a luxury Walla Walla Bed and Breakfast. Not only will you be in the perfect location to explore the nearby Washington wineries, but you’ll be in the majestic Walla Walla Valley, where outdoor excursions are abundant. In fact, on our property, you’ll find an orchard, vineyards, and trails to explore just steps from our outdoor pool area.
Our luxury Walla Walla Bed and Breakfast is designed with your ultimate comfort and relaxation in mind. Not only do we provide seven beautifully appointed deluxe rooms with the finest furnishings, but we also offer unparalleled amenities, such as our own fine dining restaurant, theatre room, outdoor pool, hot tub, library, and game room, just to name a few! You’ll wake refreshed and ready to explore the outdoor attractions like Hanford Reach National Monument, or just slip on your bathing suit and comfy robe and hit the pool.
We’ll treat you to a wonderful and hearty breakfast each morning during your stay. Always seasonal and served with hot coffee, you’ll feel nourished and pampered. To continue the pampering, be sure to book a beauty treatment or massage at our on-site spa (open to the public as well). Not all Walla Walla Bed and Breakfasts offer all of these fantastic amenities under one roof. Check our upcoming availability and book your room today!