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Three tips for top fall hiking trails

Waterfowl move through the Inland Northwest in fall migrations when autumn colors begin to peak. (Brian Plonka)
Waterfowl move through the Inland Northwest in fall migrations when autumn colors begin to peak. (Brian Plonka)

HIKING -- Fall is a stunning time to walk through the region's wildlands, from the scablands to the national forests.

Here are three of my many "favorite" fall walks, all of which are detailed in my latest co-authored guide book, Day Hiking Eastern Washington.

1.       Abercrombie Mountain (west of Ione) – The trail to the summit of Eastern Washington’s second-highest peak leads to sweeping views of fall colors, especially the larch that are in the prime of their “goldness” in the Pend Oreille River Valley by the third week of October.

Note: Road improvements are planned on the Abercrombie access roads this fall. Contact the Colville National forest Three Rivers District for updates on restrictions.

2.       Hall Mountain (east of Metaline)– The rigorous hike to the former site of a forest fire lookout overlooking Sullivan Lake and the Salmo-Priest Wilderness passes a variety of fall color scenery with a brilliant red bonus. Near the trailhead, visit the bridge over Harvey Creek next to Sullivan Lake to see thousands of spawning kokanee for their run that peaks in early November.

3.       Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge (south of Cheney)– An easy stroll along the  refuge’s Pine Lakes rewards hikers with colorful fall scenery worth the trip in itself. But bring binoculars to appreciate the even more vivid wild art of migrating waterfowl. The hike leads past waters frequented by trumpeter swans that produced two hatches of cygnets this year  that will be fledging this fall.  

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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