Richland Riverfront Trail

Washington

6 Reviews

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Richland Riverfront Trail Facts

States: Washington
Counties: Benton
Length: 7 miles
Trail end points: Port of Benton Blvd. and Richardson Rd. and Columbia Point Marina Park at Columbia Point Dr. and I-182/US 12
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6501917

Richland Riverfront Trail Description

From Columbia Point Marina Park at the south end to USS Triton Submarine Memorial Park in the north, the Richland Riverfront Trail offers seven miles of scenic paved trail immediately adjacent to the roaring Columbia River. Along the way, the trail links Howard Amon Park, Leslie Groves Park and the edge of the campus of Washington State University Tri-Cities. Trail users will enjoy the public art and scenic views of the river.

There is a short gap in the trail near the university; trail users should take Harris Avenue for a few blocks until the trail resumes at Sprout Road in the north and Ferry Road in the south. At the trail's northern endpoint, be sure to check out the sail of the USS Triton, a decommissioned nuclear submarine. The memorial also features an informational display about the history of the vessel and the region's significant contributions to the nuclear history of the United States. Indeed, the famous Hanford Site—once home to the world's first full-scale plutonium production reactor—is located a short distance north of Richland.

At Columbia Point Marina Park, the trail directly connects to the Sacagawea Heritage Trail for an even longer excursion along the Columbia River through the Tri-Cities area.

Parking and Trail Access

From the intersection of US 12 and State Route 240 in Richland, take George Washington Way north to Columbia Point Drive. Turn right and go to the end of the road at the marina launch ramp. Parking can be found at the trailhead immediately to the west of the I-182/US 12 bridge; the Richland Riverfront Trail begins there along the Columbia River.

Additional parking can be found at the northern trailhead at USS Triton Memorial Park on Port of Benton Boulevard and at various city parks along the trail's route.

Richland Riverfront Trail Reviews

Richland Riverfront Trail

Richland Riverfront Trail

I live in Kennewick and ride the Richland Riverfront Trail several times a week. I usually get to the trail by using the Sacagawea Heritage Trail or the Keene Road Trail (see my report on the Sacagawea Heritage Trail where I discuss the interconnecting of the trails in the Tri Cities area.. The Richland Riverfront Trail is an out and back trail of approximately 7 miles in each direction. There are several trailheads in the area but the major ones with parking for more than a couple of cars are as follows:

Columbia Point Marina Park

Bradley Boulevard
-North end of Condos

Howard Amon Park
- Richland Community Center
- Lee Boulevard
- Newton Street
- Boat launch Facility

Leslie Groves Park
- River Road
- Newcomer Street
- Park Road
- Saint Street
- Snyder Street

Although this trail is located in the center of a metropolitan area you are on a paved trail or when on a street or road traffic is light, there is no water or restroom facilities available on the trail north of Leslie Groves Park so plan accordingly. Although not a major problem, the Tri-Cities does have a homeless problem and it is not unusual to see one or two sleeping on one of the benches along the trail, I have no knowledge of any problems related to these people. Restrooms are available in Columbia Point Marina Park, Howard Amon Park, and Leslie Groves Park (there are no restrooms north of Snyder Street).

I will start the narrative from Columbia Point Marina Park and detail the entire trail. I will point out facilities close to the trail where you can get food, drinks, or points which may be of interest. Trail markings are few, however since the trail is continuous from one end to the other with the exception of one area where you have to travel on a residential street which has signs marking the bike route they are not a problem like on the Sacagawea Heritage Trail. As there are several hotels along the trail and a popular area for locals to walk it can be crowded for a cyclist so I will detail some of the detours you can take to miss the congestion if it is present


The Trail 

Begin at Columbia Point Marina Park, there is plenty of parking here, unless they are using it for the annual boat show or one of the bass tournaments. The trial actually starts at the end of Columbia Point Drive at the river. The trail runs north along the river side of the park and continues towards the boat launch facility. There is a restroom next to the boat launch facility and on the other side of the boat ramp are three restaurants for those that are hungry, these art not fast food but middle to upper scale facilities. If you’re looking for something lighter or not so fancy you can head back up Columbia Point Drive to the shopping mall at George Washington Way. There are other food facilities just off the trail through central Richland. Most users bypass this short section of trail in the park and begin their trip on the western side of the boat ramp where the trail leaves the parking lot. Overall this section of trail is fairly wide and pedestrians and cyclist coexist with no problems, however, the first few feet of the path from the boat ramp is narrow and a curve so you need to take it easy until you get to the top of the incline and make the right turn.

This section of the trail has benches for resting or taking in the views. On your right is the piers associated with the boat launch facility and a little further the piers where boats are permanently moored. On you left will be two of the restaurants and two hotels followed by several waterfront condominiums. At the end of the second hotel the trail turns ninety degrees to the left and the corner is somewhat blind and you need to be careful here. After the last condominium you will come to the Bradley trailhead on your left with river views to your right and a vacant lot on your left. The pavement in this area is not broken or damaged but has several rises and falls which can be a little unsettling if not aware of them. At the end of the vacant lot the trail turns to the left and passes another hotel. The trail follows the shoreline of the river and after a short distance make a turn to the right, caution the foliage along the river makes this a blind corner so be prepared to be face to face with a pedestrian or another cyclist. A very short straight section and you make a turn to the right and then after a couple hundred feet another somewhat blind turn to the left as you pass another group of condominiums. After passing the last condominium you pass yet another hotel and the trail narrows somewhat while transiting this area, after passing the hotel the trail widens and you have now entered Howard Amon Park.

On the left will be the Richland Community Center with its parking lot. The park contains several covered pavilions with tables and other amenities for use by the public. As you reach Lee Boulevard on your right will be a pier at which you may find the paddle wheel Mississippi style riverboat which ply's the Columbia and Snake rivers from Lewiston, Idaho to Astoria, Oregon with a stop in Richland. Parking is available on Lee Boulevard and in a lot to the north of Lee Boulevard between the park and George Washington Way. There is a restroom facility on Lee Boulevard next tot he tennis courts. If you continue west on Lee Boulevard and cross George Washington Way the next street you come to is The Parkway which has several small restaurants, one of which is Frost Me Sweet Bakery and Deli which has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network. Also you will find Greenies bicycle shop.

At this point the trail along the river narrows and it can become cumbersome to travel on a bike if there are pedestrians present, a usable detour is to travel up Lee Boulevard and turn right onto Amon Park Drive. If you plan on continuing on the trail next to the river skip to the next paragraph. As you travel through the parking lot on your left will be Northwest Paddleboarding where you can rent paddleboards and kayaks, take paddleboard lessons or a paddleboard tour. At the north end of the parking lot Amon Park Drive turns to the right and then back to the left to parallel the river and trail which are a short distance on your right while on your left will be another hotel. As you reach Newton Street on your left will be a restaurant and on your right will be a restroom facility. Continue on Amon Park Drive until you reach the parking lot at its end, the trail exits from the northwest corner of the lot and proceeds up onto a levee section of the trail.

For those who choose to continue on the trail from Lee Boulevard you will find benches and other amenities along the trail. There is a restroom adjacent to the small parking lot located at Newton Street. Proceed north until you reach the boat launch facility and turn right across the ramp and continue around the east side of the parking lot on the trail and continue up onto the levee section of the trail.

As you climb up onto the levee there is another hotel on your left, once on the top of the levee section of trail you will notice a path bearing to your left and back down the levee towards George Washington Way. At the bottom of the path on the left is a new building which houses a winery and Porter’s BBQ which has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. This section of the trail which is on the levee is one of my least favorite sections due to the buckling of the asphalt pavement. Somebody has painted lines around most of the bad spots but it is wearing off and either needs to be reapplied or repairs made to the trail. If the trail is crowded or you want to miss some of the bumps you can take the next path to the left down to Harris Avenue, turn right on Harris Avenue and parallel the levee north. The first street on your right will be River Road, turn onto River Road and once over the top of the levee turn left into the parking lot. If you stayed on the top of the levee when you reach River Road turn right before the vertical railroad tracks stuck in the ground. This is the beginning of Leslie Groves Park which has a unique path system ,which most users honor, the path closest to the river is for pedestrians while the path slightly inland is for cyclists. If on a bike turn left where the railroad track is missing and into the parking lot. Just ahead between the parking lot and the pedestrian section of the trail will be a restroom facility. Where Howard Amon Park was all grass like your lawn many areas of Leslie Groves Park are natural foliage. The cycle trail transitions from the parking lot to a trail at the north end of the parking lot, marked by two large boulders spaced wider apart than the rest of the smaller boulders. Both trails continue north within a few yards of each other and at times are separated by trees or other foliage. Eventually you will reach Newcomer Street which has a small parking lot for trail access. Continuing north you will reach the more developed portion of Leslie Groves Park, on your right you will find sand volleyball courts and a sandy beach which is used for swimming, CAUTION NO LIFEGUARD, SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK. On your left will be the south end of the parking lot located at Park Street, near this area there are two pavilions with tables and a restroom facility.

Continuing north the trails continue on to Saint Street where there is a large parking lot. The pedestrian route continues north along the river where you will find tennis courts on your left along with another pavilion. Cyclists have a decision to make here as the trail between Saint Street and Snyder Street is rather rough from tree roots causing the pavement to buckle, if you decide to stay on the path cross the west end of the parking lot and continue on the path with the tennis courts on your right. If you decide to bypass this rough section jog slightly to your left and continue north on Harris Avenue. Harris Avenue has no businesses on it and is only residential so traffic is minimal or non-existent plus it is a fairly wide street. At Snyder Street turn to the right towards the river and pick up the trail on your left.

At Snyder Street the pedestrian and cycle trails merge back together and in the boat launch parking lot near the trail you will find the last restroom facility as you head north on the trail. The portion of the trail north of Snyder Street is designated as the North Leslie grove Natural Area and as such is covered in vegetation natural to the area. The trail continues north through this area until it turns to the left up a short incline onto Ferry Road for a short distance until you reach Harris Avenue. Turn right onto Harris avenue and continue north until you reach Sprout Road. Across Sprout Road will be Washing State University, Tri-Cities Campus, you will turn right on Sprout Road and at the end of the street pick up the trail which immediately turn left as you enter it and then down a short downhill followed by an equal uphill section with the river on your right and the university campus on your left.

Other than the landscaped areas of the university this section of the trail in a natural habitat and you can expect to see wildlife native to the area, this includes rabbits and the occasional snake. More than once between the university and USS TRITON Park I have been startled by a rabbit dashing across the path mere inches in front of my recumbent trike. After leaving the university campus behind you merge onto Waterfront drive for a short stretch until the path picks up on the right side as the pavement ends for Waterfront Drive, stay to the right of the line of boulders. After passing a picnic table on your right the path takes a mild bend to the left and appears to go straight with a branch going to the right. Turn right as the straight section ends in a very short distance. Go up the slight incline past a couple of roadside tables and find yourself approaching some riverfront homes. It has recently been announced that the area to your right and immediately west of these homes will be developed into a higher end luxury apartment complex.

After passing the last of these homes you will climb a short rise and approach a pavilion on your right which has a table. From this pavilion you will be able to overlook the Columbia River and the Port of Benton barge slip which services the Hanford Site (formally Hanford Nuclear Reservation). If you look off to the northwest from this location you can visually follow the trail and see the sail from USS TRITON at the top of the bluff. From this pavilion it is a short ride up the hill to finally arrive at USS TRITON park. USS TRITON park is a very small park with parking for ten cars and a space just slightly larger than the sail itself.

USS TRITON Park

USS TRITON was a first generation nuclear powered submarine of the US Navy (fourth hull design, eighth boat built) which during her short career made history by becoming the first submarine to circumnavigate the Earth while submerged. The course generally followed that of the first circumnavigation of the world led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan from 1519 to 1522. TRITON was originally designed as a radar picket but quickly outdated with the US Navy’s acquisition of carrier based early warning radar aircraft. TRITON was commissioned on 10 November 1959 and decommissioned on 3 May 1969 when her design made her no longer viable as a fleet asset. She was towed from Norfolk Naval Shipyard (Portsmouth, Virginia) to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (Bremerton, Washington) in 1993 to await her turn in the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program. Triton began the recycling program in 2007 and completed the recycling in 2009.

The recycling process removes all hazardous material whether chemical, mineral, or nuclear and disposes/contains it while parts of the vessel such as steel which can be recycled is sent to the appropriate facility for reuse. The reactor is highly contaminated and during the recycling process it is removed and encapsulated in suitable containers for long term storage, these containers are then transported to the Hanford Site where they are placed in long term storage. During the recycling process the sail was removed as a single unit and placed on a barge and towed from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard out to the Pacific Ocean and up the Columbia River to the Port of Benton Barge slip where it was offloaded by the cranes you see and transported by the multiple-wheel high-capacity trailers you see adjacent to the park, up the hill to its present location where it was mounted to its current location. There is a sign on one side of the sail which instructs ou haw to arrange for a tour inside the sail if you desire to do so.

USS TRITON park commemorates not only USS TRITON but all of the nuclear powered ships and submarines who have undergone the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program whose reactors have been sealed during the recycling and placed on barges to take the same voyage as USS TRITON’s sail. Upon their arrival at the Hanford Site they were offloaded and transported to their burial location.

Return is a reversal of your north bound journey. I hope you enjoy this trail as much as I do, other than the bad areas of pavement this is a great trail. I ride thirteen miles to ride this trail and thirteen miles back home, the ride is worth it.

great way to spend an afternoon

This is a nice trail along the Columbia River. There’s picnic tables and benches all along the way. Some rest rooms too :)

Short and Sweet

This is a short but scenic, out-and-back trail. We started at the south end at Columbia Point Marina Park and cycled north to the end point at the USS Triton Memorial Park. The distance was around 16 miles. The trail condition varies from being narrow at the developed marina to wider around midway. In one or two sections, you’ll need to watch for large tree roots encroaching on the trail. There is a break in the trail for a couple of blocks where you must cycle through a low-traffic neighborhood. Signs direct the way.

The trail passes through a number of parks (water, restrooms, picnic tables, etc) and generally follows the river. In some sections towards the end, the trail splits with one path designated for walkers and another path for cyclists. Easy to miss the directions for this section painted on the trail.

You can also extend your mileage as the trail connects directly to the Sacajawea Heritage Trail which continues underneath the bridge.

Overall, a nice trail which I would recommend.

A Very Pleasant River Trail

This trail is a great stopping off point for travelers needing a break when travelling from places such as Boise or Portland to Eastern Washington and North Idaho. It would also be an excellent destination for an overnight bicycling get away in that there are numerous hotels and restaurants near the south trail head and because it connects to the Sacagewea Heritage Trail which provides for an additional 23 miles of riding to the south. The views of the river are outstanding and, as the map indicates, photo opportunities are aplenty. This trail has lots of curves and appears to be a popular trail with walkers, joggers, and cyclists of all ages, so it is very well suited for casual riding, sightseeing, and people watching.

Accordion

USS TRITON (SSN 586) Submarine Memorial

I have not personally seen the memorial however my son has and took photos just as it was being set in its concrete pad. I served on this submarine from January 1965 until December 1965 and completed my initial "Qualification in Submarines" on board. I will do my utmost to someday visit the park. Thank you for doing this. Also, is there a plan to raise funds by selling bricks with names/dates etched? Many of the navy memorials use this method.

TRAILBEAR IN ATOMIC CITY: The Richland Riverfront Trail


TRAILBEAR IN ATOMIC CITY: The Richland Riverfront Trail

9.10.2010

OVERVIEW…

The Richland Riverfront Trail comes in two sections. The upper section begins at the Port of Benton’s Submarine Memorial Park near the Handford Reservation. There, atop a bluff overlooking the river is the sail of the USS Trition, an early nuc boat. Not really what you expected to see on the Columbia River. From here the trail runs along the river for 1.35 miles to the bottom of the WSU Tri Cities campus.

A short stretch of 0.5 miles of residential street (Class III) riding takes you to the top of Leslie Groves Park and the start of the lower section. From there you pedal five miles downriver to the south end at Columbia Point Marina Park alongside the US 12 bridge. What you get is an enjoyable ride along the river with interesting parks, a marina, public art and a lot of shade trees.


START AT THE TOP – SUBMARINE MEMORIAL PARK, GE: 46.348375 -119.269649

You really do not expect this – the sail of a submarine sticking out the gravel on the bluff. The park is not finished. One suspects the Great Recession has put construction on hold for some time to come, but it should be a nice upper trailhead. Right above the park is the Hanford 300 Area. From the park the trail sweeps down to the river and along the bank. Just below is a handsome overlook shelter. Ride down stream and uphill for 1.35 miles to the other end of this segment at the WSU campus.

http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/nplpad.nsf/0/1012efa3ff97b67285256592007bfd96?OpenDocument

You ride down Sprout Rd. for a half mile to …


THE TOP OF LESLIE GROVES PARK, GE: N46.32133 W119.26066

This is the wild area at Leslie Groves Park. No clipped lawns and shade trees here. Street end parking and a trash can. Head down the trail to…


GLIDER WITH COVER, 0.27 M, N46.31763 W119.26061

Here is an Eagle Scout Project that we can ride on – a glider swing with overhead cover. TB gave it a try. It works just fine after 15 years on the job. There are a number of glider swings along the trail, which is a First for the TrailBear. Yet to find another trail with gliders. Most are memorial gliders. Some are not.

TB wonders if they installed all the benches and such at the start, then let folks buy the naming rights. The non-Scout gliders and benches along this trail are quality metal units and there are a lot of them. Onward! Next stop is a trailhead if you want it to be …


SNYDER STREET BOAT LAUNCH, N46.31460 W119.26129

Here, at the Snyder St. boat launch (restrooms, water, parking, etc.) we encounter a reminder that the Hanford Reservation is just up the road a few miles and they do have plumes of contaminated water next to the Columbia River – which is drinking water for a lot of people. Here is an environmental surveillance station that checks for radiation, river water temperature and assorted other things. Just in case. There are over 40 of these stations around the reservation. Just checking. Synder Street is the upper end of three street end facilities. Next is Saint Street, then Park Street.

The trail splits at the boat launch. There is a pedestrian path running along the shore, with shade trees, benches, picnic areas and other facilities. There is a bike trail on the inland side of the park with far less shade and facilities. Separate, but not equal. TrailBear heads up the hot and high side past the Saint St. parking to …


PARK STREET TRAILHEAD, GE: 46.30777 -119. 26335

This is a pleasant and not overcrowded bit of park with shade trees, restrooms and water, covered picnic shelter, parking , tot lot, and shaded benches and tables with views down by the river. This will be the last oasis for about two miles as the trail below here takes to the levee with homes on the inboard side. There is enough land on the levee that they can split the trail in to two paths here – the high and hot for bikes and the one along the river for the peds. The next stop is the …


AMON PARK BOAT LAUNCH, GE: 46.280673 -119.271611

The boat launch at the top of Amon Park Rd. N. has parking, restrooms, water, etc. More are down at Lee St. Howard Amon Park gets a lot of use, but most of the folks seem to be parking on-street on Amon Park Rd. or Lee St. Lot of shade trees here and a nice new dock at the end of Lee St. for the tour boats. The trail (ped & bike together) runs right along the water. Once at the Lee Docks, take a small diversion inland for about 100 yards to see the …


CARVED TREE, GE: 46.27449 -119.27084

This is different. A dead tree seems be have been repurposed into a collection of interesting carvings on the Indians meet the trappers and traders theme. Nice eagle carved in the end of one branch. Back on the trail. You will leave Amon Park and enter the commercial section. Here there be riverfront condos and such, restaurants, shops, hotels and the …



RICHLAND YACHT CLUB, GE: 46.26606 -119.25774

Yachts in the boat basin to your left and yacht club housing (condo/apartment/whatever?) to the right. Wonder if they own that housing development? It has their name. They lease the moorage from the city.

http://www.richlandyachtclub.com/index.php?ID=23

Just around the corner and the Courtyard hotel is the …


COLUMBIA POINT MARINA, GE: 46.264137 -119.249948

Here is a small boat basin with slips and launch ramps. When the TrailBear came through, they were having a bass tournament. This does not appear to be a cheap sport. None of that “cheese whizz on a hook” stuff. The boats, all purpose built for bass fishing, looked expensive. Add the trailer, the truck, the motors (2), equipment and so on and it adds up. Riding a bike is cheaper. Much cheaper.

It was weigh-in time at the docks. Boats were landing. Folks were heading up the dock with their fish carry bags full (or not so full) of bass. First stop was the oxygen tank (“American Bass Live Release System”) with four hose lines. Put the bag of fish in the tank, insert O2 line and give the fish the Breath of Life.

After the sack of fish was weighed in the tent, folks were heading back down to their boats to return the fish to their holding tanks. Pedal across the launch ramp. The trail is on the water side of the restroom there. It follows the shore to the US 12 bridge at the bottom of the marina to …


TRAIL END SOUTH, GE: 46.263609 -119.246012

The RRT ends at the highway bridge. There is a large strip of car (vs. trailer) parking here so it is a good place to stage the ride. The trail itself does not end here. It gets a new name. If you follow it under the bridge, you are now on the Sacagawea Heritage Trail.


RIDE ON – THE SACAGEWA HERITAGE TRAIL

http://www.visittri-cities.com/visitors/heritage-&-eco-tourism/sacagawea-heritage-trail/map/

This is worth the ride. It loops on both sides of the river for about 23 miles. You can go over the bridge and do the Pasco side or ride on to the bottom of the bridge ramp here and continue on to Columbia Park, the Blue Bridge and further on the Cable Bridge. Nice to have some loop options. Be sure to ride the Cable Bridge.

There is very little signage on the route and none in the critical spots, so a good map is helpful. For that, insist on genuine TrailLink maps and GPS downloads. On these routes you are getting genuine TrailBear maps.


Ride on!

TrailBear
Picking up a tan in Atomic City











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