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Water’s Rising at W.E. Johnson Park blog post
To get to the W.E. Johnson Park trailhead. Travel on Highway 240 (the Bypass Highway around Richland) to Van Geisen, turn west toward West Richland. Travel west on Van Geisen (Highway 224) about a quarter mile to Hall Road (at Woods Nursery). Go south on Hall Road almost a half mile to the parking lot and trailhead. You can also get to Hall Road from West Richland by going east from the Yakima River Bridge on Highway 224 (Van Geisen) 1.2 miles to Woods Nursery and turn south.
This is a nice hike with meandering roads and trails, streams and ponds that could easily take up a whole afternoon with exploring. W.E. Johnson Park covers much of the land between Van Geisen Road and Duportail north and south and between the bypass highway and Yakima River east and west. This is a low-lying area with plenty of wetlands. You will find plenty of wildlife, especially birds.
W.E. Johnson Park is now part of the Great Washington State Birding Trail. The Audubon Society sponsors the Great Washington State Birding Trail network with 7 regions defined in publications. The Tri-Cities is in the Sun and Sage region.
Along the Great Washington State Birding Trail, you’ll find the best places for the best bird watching in the Evergreen State. With 40+ million Americans describing themselves as interested in bird watching, developers of the Great Washington State Birding Trail hope to entice both local residents and out-of-state visitors to the Sun and Sage Loop which features more than 200 of Washington’s 346 annually recorded bird species. (from the Audubon Society web site)
The blackberry bushes are thick for nice treats in the summer. Because of the lowland area that borders the Yakima River, you will usually find some flooding in the spring that can block your way. Don’t cross these areas as water levels can fluctuate quickly! Also, the wet area means bring your mosquito repellent in the summer or you’ll be itching a lot the next day. This is an enjoyable area to hike, watch out for the archery range in the area, heed the warning signs for safety. You’ll get some nice views including Red Mountain, Flattop and Rattlesnake Mountain.