Plan Your Visit

Bird Watching

The Hanford Reach National Monument is an outdoor enthusiast's dream. Visitors may currently access over 57,000 acres providing wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities.

Hunters can pursue trophy mule deer and the occasional elk from a herd boasting some of the largest elk in the West. Anglers can pursue salmon, steelhead, monster white sturgeon, largemouth bass, walleye, and many other sportfish. Spring often brings good wildflower shows, and abundant wildlife provide year-round opportunities for photography and wildlife observation. Old military and service roads provide miles of hiking opportunities, and the more adventurous can head off crosscountry on foot.

The Hanford Reach provides motorized and non-motorized boating opportunities on the nation's only remaining non-tidal, free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River. Jetboat or kayak tours are excellent ways to see the river, experience its history, and catch a glimpse of deer, pelicans, coyotes, bald and golden eagles, egrets, various herons and waterfowl of all descriptions.

The Monument is a land of extremes—heat and cold, water and desert, ancient and modern. While not an unduly dangerous landscape, caution needs to be taken when venturing out into it. There are few visitor facilities at present, and the visitor should plan on self-sufficiency. It's dry; bring plenty of water. River winds can capsize small craft; wear lifejackets. Some areas are remote; let someone know your destination and when you'll be back. Cell coverage is generally pretty good, due the flat landscape, but that shouldn't be your emergency plan. While rare and very shy, there are Pacific rattlesnakes, so don't reach into areas without first checking. The only real wildlife threats would be allergic reactions to insect or spider bites (e.g., black widow spiders).

Visitors should be prepared for minimal signing and primitive facilities. A visitor brochure is available; just drop us a note with your name and address.

Warnings aside, the Monument is a fairly safe and pleasant environment. Obey signs and follow common sense, and you'll enjoy your visit to this unique national monument and wildlife refuge.

Other Resources


As far as actually planning your visit, the Tri-Cities of Kennewick, Richland and Pasco, as well as nearby West Richland and Benton City, offer a wide range of hotels, restaurants and stores. (Please visit the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau web site.) Camping is available at Benton County's Horn Rapids Park, Desert Aire, Mattawa, Kennewick's Columbia Park, facilities along Grant County's Priest Rapids and Wanapum Reservoirs, and other nearby facilities. Jetboat and kayak tours of the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River are available. The Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau can help you out with locating other area attractions like wine tasting tours, area parks, and other recreational areas.