- Round-trip mileage: 14.4 miles
- Difficulty: Easy, paved trail, gentle inclines
- Elevation: Flat, no elevation gain
- Warning: Water along trail, watch small children closely, trail route is along road for a short time. Make sure to watch for traffic.
- Restrooms are located along this route in three locations: Columbia Point Marina Park, Howard Amon Park and Leslie Groves Park.
View Richland Riverfront Trail in a larger map
South TrailheadThere are several access points to the wonderful riverfront trail that runs along the Columbia River in Richland. The southernmost access is shown in the map above at Columbia Point Marina Park. Take George Washington Way into the main entrance into Richland off of Highway 240 or I-182. Turn right (east) on Columbia Point Drive (at the Winco supermarket). Go to the dead end and park and you’re at the trailhead.
North TrailheadContinue north on George Washington Way for about 5.9 miles to the north end of Richland (near the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories). Turn Right on 11th Street to the small parking area at the submarine monument and you are at the north trailhead.
Other Trail access There are other places to access the trail, namely Howard Amon Park and Leslie Groves Park. Go to either park and you’ll find the paved path parallel to the river.
I’ll start my trail narration from the south trailhead heading north.
There is a kiosk at the trailhead explaining that this trail is part of the Sacagawea Heritage Trail that encicles the Tri-Cities and goes as far as Sacajawea Park at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers.
The Columbia Point Marina Park is one of three gorgeous City of Richland Parks you pass through on this trail. There are restrooms, playground equipment and a boat launch with marina.
The paved trail parallels the Columbia River and passes Anthony’s restaurant and the Marriott Hotel.
The path then travels past several townhouses and the Shilo Inn and Hampton Inn.
After a few more townhouses,
you’ll enter the oldest park along this path, Howard Amon Park.
This park has a beautiful beach area, boat launch, boat docks and a swimming dock.
There’s a large playground area, picnic shelters, a kiddie pool and an amphitheater (known as the “fingernail”).
Heading north from Howard Amon Park, you’ll find plenty of benches to rest and take in the views of the river with plenty of birds. From Howard Amon, the trail has a slight incline so you are traveling on the top of a dike. To the west, you can look at examples of several government build houses known as “alphabet homes” which were built in the 1940’s to support the workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The Hanford Site is still in cleanup mode today after decades of nuclear research and production.
As you near the north end of the dike, you will dip down closer to river level as the path splits into two, one for pedestrians, the other for bicycle traffic. At this point, you are in Leslie Groves Park.You will hike through an area that has a lot of trees and brush. Deer, pheasants and other wildlife can frequently be spotted here.
As you continue north, you will get into the main Leslie Groves Park area.
150 acres of grass with restrooms, playground area, tennis courts, volleyball courts,
picnic shelters, swimming area, tons of grass it’s a great place for a break on your hike.
As you get to the end of Leslie Groves Park, you’ll pass the tennis courts and then cross a road to the boat launch. Then, you’ll have about a quarter mile of paved trail through primitive brush. At about the 5.25 mile mark, you’ll come to a point where you have to walk along a surface street. Go a short distance on Ferry Street, turn right on Harris and walk about .6 miles then right on Prout Street. At the dead-end, you’ll get back on the trail again. The paved trail dips down then back up and runs behind Washington State University-Tri-Cities campus.
The path continues along the river with views over the some newer homes on the Franklin County side of the Columbia. You’ll also pass some newer townhouses and maybe a few darting bunny rabbits.Just past the townhouses, is a small blue-roofed viewing shelter with a picnic table.
This is strategically located to watch as large payloads are off-loaded from barges to ship to the Hanford site for storage. The main items unloaded at the port are naval nuclear reactor compartments from reactor powered ships and submarines. You can read more about these reactor compartments at this post here on hike tri-cities.com.
Just up the hill from the port is the end of the trail at Richland’s very own Submarine Park.
This is a little known park with a rich history featuring the 24-foot tall sail from the USS Triton submarine which was powered by two nuclear reactors.
The Triton holds the amazing distinction of being the first submarine to travel around the world submerged! It took 60 days and happened during the Triton’s shakedown voyage in 1960 . The Triton was 448 feet long and 37 feet wide.
USS Triton History
- Built By Electric Boat
- Commissioned 11/10/1959
- Maiden Voyage 4/25/60. Triton becomes first vessel to circumnavigate the world submerged. The Triton crew used Ferdinand Magellsn’s route who sailed around the world 440 years earlier.
- 2/15/60 Radar picket submarine stationed in New London, CT
- Converted to attack submarine in 1964, stationed in Norfolk, VA
- Decommissioned 5/3/69
- Sail and conning tower erected in Richland in 2010
USS Triton Specifications
- Motto: Nulli Secundus (Second to none)
- Cost: $109 million in 1959
- Dimensions: 448 feet long, 37 feet wide
- Weight: 7,773 tons
- Power: Twin nuclear reactors
- Props: two, 11 foot, 5 blades
- Max. Speed: 35 mph
- Crew: officers: 16, Petty officers: 16, Enlisted men: 125, Psychiatrist: 1, Photographer: 1
At the USS Triton Sail Park, there is a parking area so you can start your journey on the Richland Riverfront Trail on either end.
This is a great hike with super views of the magnificent Columbia River. It is great for walking, biking or even stroller, rollerblade or handicapped access. Enjoy!