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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Family

Family Fun: Search for signs of spring on annual Buttercup Hike

Buttercups are among the first blooms each year.

Since 1967, the Dishman Hills Conservancy has been inviting people to come look for buttercups and other early wildflowers each spring.

That first year, the natural area was still in private hands, and the hike was a way to raise awareness.

“It was the start of the campaign before a single acre had been acquired,” said Jeff Lambert, Dishman Hills Conservancy executive director. About 75 people went on the hike – “It was gigantic.”

Now, the Dishman Hills Natural Area is more than 3,200 acres and jointly managed by Spokane County Parks, the state Department of Natural Resources and the conservancy.

On Saturday, because of COVID-19 concerns, there will be staggered starts for the self-guided hike, Lambert said. Groups of as many as 12 people will leave every 30 minutes from the trailhead at Camp Caro from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The conservancy will be handing out maps and nature information, and the approximately 2.5-mile route will be marked, he said.

Along the way, there will be experts talking about things like geology, forestry, fire ecology, Ice Age floods and pond ecology.

One of the things participants may learn: The buttercups in the natural area are sagebrush buttercups and like drier locations.

For hikers who want to avoid the crowds on Saturday, a map and information for the self-guided hike is available online at

Lambert said spring is the time to see the geology of the Dishman Hills.

“I love the fact that since the shrubs have not leafed out, you can actually see the terrain and the rock formations,” he said.

“I’ve been out several times this spring, and I just love the various rock shapes and the cliffs.”

If you go: The free hike starts at Camp Caro, 625 S. Sargent Road in Spokane Valley. Start times are every 30 minutes from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Register at Maps and information for the self-guided tour will be available on the website this week.

Coming up: There will be an evening hike to Enchanted Ravine at 5 p.m. April 14. For details and to register, visit

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