Summer Guide: Best hikes
Sat., June 22, 2019
Living in Spokane means, among many other things, easy access to spectacular hiking in essentially any direction.
Below are five hikes that everyone should try, at least once.
Spokane’s namesake mountain offers 100 miles of trails and, on a clear day, expansive views of Spokane, Idaho and even glimpses of Montana’s Cabinet Mountains.
There are more potential hikes in the Mount Spokane State Park area than you can shake a stick at. But, one good option that shows off the parks varied terrain is the Three Peaks Loop.
The 15-mile loop gains about 3,000 feet of elevation, wrote former outdoors editor Rich Landers in a story detailing the hike last week.
The loop can be done in one go, or broken into pieces, depending on motivation and fitness.
Logistics: A Washington Discover Pass is required in vehicles parking in Mount Spokane State Park. No vehicle pass is required for patrons of the alpine ski area when it is in operation.
Trailhead directions: Mount Spokane is accessible from State Highway 206, which becomes Mount Spokane Park Drive at the park entrance and office. Set your vehicle trip odometer at the office to navigate to the following primary summer trailheads:
At 0.2 mile, the park’s first parking spot accesses Trail 110, the main trail linking to upper-mountain destinations.
At 1.7 miles, the hairpin-turn parking lot accesses the Lower Mount Kit Carson Loop Road, Burping Brook picnic area and Trails 100, 110, 140 and others.
At 3 miles, the lower Selkirk Lodge parking lot (huge) is at the junction with the Summit Road and a trailhead for Trails 100 and 130 and near the Nordic ski trail system and the route to Quartz Mountain Lookout.
At 1 mile up Summit Road, Bald Knob Picnic Area is the trailhead for an easy section of Trail 130 to the CCC Cabin Heritage Site.
At 1.6 miles up Summit Road is a small parking area at the Cook’s Cabin sit (only the woodshed still stands) with the shortest route to the CCC Cabin and a shortcut to Trail 140.
At 3 miles the Summit Road ends at the top of the mountain, the top of chairlifts and Trail 140. Bear right for the short walk to the Vista House or make the hairpin left turn to the Mount Spokane summit.
For more information visit spokesman.com/outdoors/.
McClellan Conservation Area
For a hike suitable for the whole family head to the McLellan Conservation Area. The 410-acre property sits on the Spokane River about 40 minutes northwest of downtown.
There is one primary loop trail that is about 3 miles total with minimal elevation gain making it a good hike for children. There are other poorly defined single-track trails. But, what the area lacks in established trails it makes up for in views of the Spokane River (including river access).
Logistics: No parking pass required
Trailhead directions: From downtown Spokane drive north on Maple St. Turn left onto Northwest Blvd. follow that until it turns into N. Assembly Drive. Turn left onto 9 Mile Rd. (Highway 291). Stay on 291 until you see W. Charles Rd. (just past the Nine Miles Falls Dam). Turn left onto W. Charles Rd. then turn right on N. South Bank Road. Stay on this road until you see McLellan Road on your right. Turn there. The trailhead is about a mile from the turnoff.
For more information visit spokesman.com/outdoors/.
Little Spokane River Natural Area
Knothead Loop in the Little Spokane River Natural Area of Riverside State Park covers 8.2 miles and gains about 1,500 feet of elevation. Hikers will be treated with great views of the Little Spokane River from the hike’s high point.
Logistics: A Discover Pass is required at the two Riverside State Park trailheads.
Directions: From Maple Street in north Spokane, head 1 mile west on Francis Avenue (State Route 291). Turn right (north) on Indian Trail Road. Drive 4.7 miles to a junction with Rutter Parkway. Continue straight onto the parkway. Shortly after crossing a bridge, turn left into the parking area.
For more information visit wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/little-spokane-river-natural-area-knothead-loop.
Kaniksu National Forest
The hike to Scotchman Peak is a more committing hike, both logistically and physically. The trailhead is a 2.5 hour drive from Spokane and the hike itself is steep, gaining 3,500 feet in about 4 miles.
But, for the competent and prepared hiker it offers a sweet reward with commanding views of Lake Pend Oreille, the Idaho Selkirks and Canada.
But, be prepared. This is a mountain peak with variable weather. Bring layers, water and food. The numerous mountain goats that live in the area offer great wildlife viewing. But don’t approach the animals. The Forest Service has closed the hike in the past because goats have become to aggressive after being fed by misinformed hikers.
Logistics: No parking passes required. Road is well-maintained.
Directions: From Sandpoint, take SR 200 east to Clark Fork, Idaho. Turn north on Main Street in downtown Clark Fork, entrance to the national forest. The main street becomes Forest Road 276 (Mosquito Creek). After about 2.5 miles, turn right on Forest Road 2295 and continue about 1 mile. Turn left on road 2294 and watch for signs for Trail 65 (Scotchman Peak) in about 1 mile. The road ends at the trailhead.
For more information visit scotchmanpeaks.org.
Post Falls Community Forest
One of the newest additions to the Spokane-areas hiking inventory, the Post Falls Community Forest is an expansive recreation area just minutes from I-90.
The 518-acre area has been purchased by the City of Post Falls over the past several years. Now, the city is developing a system of trails.
While still in its infancy, there are 10 miles of trails that can be linked into roughly 20 miles of loop routes.
Logistics: No parking pass required.
From Interstate 90 at Post Falls, take Exit 5. Turn south on Spokane Street and drive 0.7 mile. Turn right on Parkway Road and drive to the second right turn into the parking area. The Q’emiln trailheads are on the left. To reach the new south trailhead, continue on Spokane Street past Parkway Road (becomes West Riverview Drive) for 1.5 miles to the parking area on the right.
More information and a trail map is available online under Parks at www.postfallsidaho.org.
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