Mount Kit Carson Loop Dayhike

SUNDAY, JULY 28, 1996

Check it out

Distance: 8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Hiking time: 3-1/2 - 6 hours

Season: Late May through October

Maps: USGS Mount Spokane, Mount Kit Carson

Info: Mount Spokane State Park, 456-4169.

Hiking trip notes

Access: Approach Mount Spokane State Park on Highway 206 (Mount Spokane Park Drive) Spokane Road, which is accessible from north Spokane off U.S. Highway 2, or from Interstate 90 in the Spokane Valley by heading north on Argonne Road. Enter park just past Lodge at Mount Spokane and drive 3-1/4 miles to large gravel Sno-Park area.

Attractions: Route links many of 13,821-acre Mount Spokane State Park’s best trails into loop with several appealing options for hikers who want more - or less. Gain and lose about 1,200 feet elevation while hiking from open meadows to dark timber. Wildflowers in dozens of varieties flourish along trails. Route passes picnic spots and shelters, crosses several creeks before leading back to parking area with no duplication of trails.

Comments: Don’t expect much help from trail signs. Most trails unmarked. Current numbering system makes no sense. Plans underway to change this. Park open 6:30 a.m. to dusk.

From parking area, elev. 4,530 feet, cross paved Mount Spokane State Park Road. Route begins on right (north) side of paved Mount Spokane Summit Road.

Walk up undefined trail to equipment shed. Trail picks up at upper right corner of graveled lot and heads into timber.

When confronted with junctions at fire roads in this stretch, take uphill route. At 1 mile, trail reaches Bald Knob campground. Water available during summer season.

Follow trail into parking area. Walk on left side of restrooms and out exit road. Cross paved Summit Road and pick up superb single track trail (unmarked at present) built in 1995. Trail undulates along hillside for 1 mile to picnic area and shelter built in 1930s by Civilian Conservation Corps. Good snack and turnaround spot for hikers preferring 4-mile out-and-back trip.

At CCC site, walk until you see graveled Mount Kit Carson Loop Road (closed to motor vehicles). Walk down through trees on undefined trail, turn left and walk downhill on road to trail junction marked by outhouse.

Single-track trail that takes off to left of outhouse is delightful short-cut to featured route (see map). However, for this hike, walk past outhouse and head steeply uphill on fire road for 200 yards to another junction.

Optional side trips from this junction include:

Continuing straight uphill onto Trail 170 to splendid overlook of Spokane Valley from outcropping on Mount Kit Carson.

At Trail 170 sign, turn right onto pleasant rolling trail to Day Mountain.

Featured route, however, heads left at junction onto Trail 115 (fire road) and leads about 1/2 mile to open area. At 3-3/4 miles into trip, fire road plunges downhill into only unpleasant section on route. Head down steep, rocky road nearly 3/4 mile. Look for unmarked single track trail on left. At nearly 4-1/2 miles into trip, Trail 100 contours into dark timber haunts of thimbleberry and other lush plants.

Cross creek at 5-1/8 miles. Come to junction at 51/2 miles. Heading down on Trail 105 leads to picnic area. Featured route, however, heads uphill to left.

Come to junction with short-cut trail at 5-3/8 miles. Bear right, heading gradually downhill.

At 6-1/4 miles, cross another creek. At junction just past creek, turn left and head uphill. Walk short way and bear right on newer trail that switchbacks steadily up slope.

At 6-3/4 miles, cross fire road. Steepness moderates. Cross old powerline swath and come to another junction. Bear right. Hike around ridge, then down on double-track trail. When you can see parking area, bear left on undefined trail to log gate at Mount Spokane Park Road.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map of Mount Kit Carson Loop Dayhike

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN - Routes: Classic Trips in the Inland Northwest

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