REACH Museum Tours: Click for virtual Rattlesnake Mountain Errat - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

REACH Museum Tours: Click for virtual Rattlesnake Mountain Erratics and Wildflower Hike

Posted: Updated:

RICHLAND, WA - Eastern Washington's landscape is unlike any other. Thanks to the ice age and ensuing ice floods, there are scars etched deep into the desert landscape and debris from all over ended up here. The REACH Museum offers several tours and events for people to learn more about the unique geological region. 

On Earth Day, a group of 14 participants went along for the Rattlesnake Mountain Erratics and Wildflower hike. It's a common misconception that Rattlesnake is not open to the public.

"There's a fence line at the DOE, department of energy, boundary," said guide Bruce Bjornstad. 

Yes, it's partly true; but Rattlesnake Slope is miles and miles of open land for public use (with a Discover Pass). 

"It's unique to anywhere else in the world. The ice age floods haven't occurred over and over again anywhere else but right here in eastern Washington," said Bjornstad, who is a geologist and author. He spent a decade mapping Rattlesnake Mountain's topography and leads a handful of these different tours every year.

"Some people are already fairly familiar with the geology in this area and they want to learn more or become more intimate with their surroundings. Other people are totally blown away," said Bjornstad.

He explained to the group that the only native rocks to this region are basalt. However, on Rattlesnake Slope he led the group to several granite rocks and many other types. He said they were dropped here during the ice floods. Sometimes the rocks settled in what are called 'Bergmounds.' Bjornstad believes either really dirty or really dense icebergs grounded and melted, leaving behind small unnatural mounds (bergmounds) that are still here today. 

"If you know the history of the Hanford area or the history of Rattlesnake, and you know about the indigenous people and their connection to the land, I think it gives you a better understanding of how beautiful and incredibly special it is," said one hiker, Connie Dehaan.

The REACH Museum hosts several different tours. The next one coming up is called 'Hydrogeology of Beer and Wine.' 

For a full list and information on how to sign up click HERE.