Hanford Reach National Monument, WA

SPECIAL REPORT • The West's untapped treasures
Karl Samson

Located in southeastern Washington north of the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick), this newly established park preserves the last nontidal free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River in the United States. The monument is within the Hanford Site, which was established in the 1940s to help develop the first nuclear bombs. Hanford Reach includes some of the Columbia River's best salmon-spawning waters as well as shrub-steppe ecosystems and the 400-foot-high White Bluffs. The best way to explore is on a jet boat tour.

WHERE: About 60 miles north of Richland off State 24.

WHEN: Open year-round; best spring through early fall.

COST: Free.

SERVICES: There's no visitor center; try the Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau (800/254-5824 or www.visittri-cities.com).

ACTIVITIES: Columbia River Journeys (509/734-9941, 888/486-9119, or www.columbiariverjourneys.com) offers jet boat tours out of Richland. Cruising to the White Bluffs, you're likely see deer, coyotes, herons, and white pelicans.

CONTACT: (509) 371-1801.