July 14, 2008 in City

Easygoing hikes provide natural getaway

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Backcountry trails

Late start

Hikers bound for backcountry destinations always should call Forest Service offices for road and trail reports before departing, especially after this year’s late spring.

For example, the upper road access to Snow Peak in the St. Joe National Forest still was plugged with more than 2 feet of snow on July 4. Blowdowns have yet to be cleared from many access roads.

When the urge strikes to stretch the legs, Inland Northwest families never have far to go to find a good trail.

Spokane and Coeur d’Alene have idyllic escape routes rife with native flora and fauna and suitable for hikers of all ages. Following are two examples to try if you haven’t – and to revisit if you have.

Also included is a trail just a little farther afield that leads gently to a North Idaho mountain lake, wildlife and huckleberries.

Little Spokane River: Painted Rocks

Hiking time: Several hours.

Difficulty: Even people who get lost in the mall parking lot have no trouble here.

The gentle trail downstream from the Indian Painted Rocks off Rutter Parkway allows a hiker to get away from it all just minutes from the Indian Trail neighborhood. The Little Spokane River is your constant companion for an out-and-back walk of up to four miles. No pets allowed.

Info: Riverside State Park, (509) 465-5064; www.riversidestatepark.org.

Lake Coeur d’Alene: Tubbs Hill

Hiking time: Several hours.

Difficulty: Mostly easy enough for flip-flops, but we recommend walking shoes.

Hike around this little knob of wilderness starting from the trailhead at the city boat launch on the southeast side of the Coeur d’Alene Resort. About two-thirds of the three-mile loop overlooks Lake Coeur d’Alene and offers access to a few beaches that are particularly inviting this time of year if you head out in the quiet of morning.

Info: Coeur d’Alene Visitor Center, (208) 664-3194; www.coeurdalene.org.

Thompson Pass: Revett Lake

Hiking time: Several hours or overnight

Difficulty: If grandma can walk four miles, she can do this hike even though it has the atmosphere of a wilderness experience.

The hike starts from Thompson Pass off paved Forest Highway 9 on the Idaho-Montana border east of the Coeur d’Alene River and the burg of Murray (worth a visit).

Revett is so pretty and sinfully easy to reach, you might want to try the Blossom Lake trail, which also starts at Thompson Pass.

Info: Wallace Ranger Office, (208) 752-1221; www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/rec /activities/trails/list.html.


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