If views, a vigorous (but short) hike and crisp air appeal, the 3-mile round trip Quartzite Trail is the perfect way to burn through your post-Thanksgiving stupor.
Located near Chewelah, Washington, the trail climbs roughly 800 feet in 1 1/2 miles. The trail takes hikers to the top of the imposing cliffs east of Chewelah that are visible while driving on U.S. 395
When I hiked it Monday, the trail was in good shape with just a few, easily avoidable icy patches. Located in the Colville National Forest, the trail allows hikers to weave through pines before coming to the top of Quartzite Mountain, where the forest thins and rolling meadows begin.
In the summer, this is a good place to see wildflowers and pick strawberries, according to the Washington Trails Association.
Once on top of Quartzite Mountain, the views open up, with an expansive vantage of the Colville River Valley.
A metal bench gives hikers a place to rest while taking in the views. There is also a mailbox with a summit register of sorts and a primitive campground with fire pits.
Beware of sheer cliffs, however, as some trails take hikers dangerously close to the edge. A U.S. Geological Survey marker sits at the true top of the mountain.
On Monday, blue skies made the hike particularly rewarding.
Afterward, treat yourself to a coffee and a pastry at Jean Bean’s Coffee (211 E. Main, Chewelah). Jean Bean’s is open until 2 p.m. on most days.
Remember, while it is a short hike, it’s steep. Coming down can be challenging and hard on the knees. Keep this in mind.
Overall, it’s a rewarding hike with great views, all within 1 1/2 hours of Spokane.
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