While “hitting the trail” is a year-round activity for hikers, runners and cyclists, Saturday has been dubbed “Opening Day.”
Spokane area groups are riding the coattails of a national event by organizing guided hikes and bike tours to connect trail users with the area’s wealth of opportunities.
Opening Day for Trails includes hikes and bike rides that highlight routes in the Spokane River Gorge, Dishman Hills, Riverside State Park and other choice destinations.
Bike tours include a mountain bike ride in Riverside’s Seven Mile area and tandem ride on the Centennial Trail organized by Spokane Parks and Recreation.
“We’re showcasing just a few examples of what our area trails offer,” said Lunell Haught of the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition.
Several organizations will set up to offer trails information during an open house, 2-4 p.m., at The Nest at Kendall Yards, 1335 W. Summit Pkwy.
“This will be a good chance to connect with a group or learn about trails, plan an outing – get the inside scoop,” Haught said.
“Spokane County Parks, for example, will be there with information and maps of their excellent Conservation Futures areas, which have some of the most popular trails in the region.”
The Dishman Hills Conservancy will lead an easy two-mile walk through the Dishman Hills from Camp Caro or hikers can choose a 5.3-mile hike to visit the Cliff Trail volunteers built last fall in the Glenrose Conservation Area.
The Spokane Mountaineers, celebrating their centennial anniversary, will be on hand. Ms Adventures, a relatively new outdoor group, will lead a women-only hike at McKenzie Conservation Area.
The Hobnailers, the area’s second-oldest hiking group, will host a walk on the Fish Lake Trail, a paved abandoned railway that starts near Sunset Boulevard and Government Way and runs, with one break, to Cheney. It’s just one of several premium rail trails in the Inland Northwest.
The Opening Day for Trails is promoted nationally by the Rails to Trails Conservancy, ( railstotrails.org), which promotes the rail-banking of abandoned railways such as the John Wayne and Columbia Plateau trails in Eastern Washington and the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and the Route of the Hiawatha in North Idaho.
Other groups involved in the Spokane event include Friends of the (South Hill) Bluff as well as the Riverside State Park Foundation, which will lead a hike in the park’s Deep Creek area.
The Inland Northwest Land Trust is leading a special guided walking tour at Reardan-Audubon Lake to view property the group recently preserved for wildlife and recreation.
The open house activities are supported by Greenstone Corp., which figured the Centennial Trail into its Kendall Yards development. The effort paved way for the 38-mile paved route to extend under Monroe Street Bridge and along the rim of the Spokane River Gorge.
All of Saturday’s guided activities are free with the exception of the tandem bike tour on the Centennial Trail. Spokane Parks is charging $8 per rider for that event to cover the cost of helmet, tandem bicycle rental and guide. Participants must be age 16 or older.
“Opening Day for Trails is happening across America and Spokane is part of it,” Haught said. “We’re so full-on about trails here. We have a lot to be proud of.”
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