Take A Hike!

posted by Shannon Steele -

Hiking: where journey, exploration, and human interaction take place outside of the virtual world. 

 

June 20th is the summer solstice and the weather is FINE today with a high of 85. So unplug yourself from your devices and head out into the (relative) wilderness for a grand adventure! Take a friend, take your dog, just go! 

Here are 12 local trails for beginning, moderate, and advanced hikers! 

*Please do not attempt trails outside of your skill level! Always be prepared and take the appropriate precautions. Good gear is a MUST if you are attempting more difficult trails. Have fun, but above all: BE SAFE!

EASY TRAILS

Palisades Park

Best for: Easy walking and hiking.

Mileage: 464 acres with multiple intersecting trails and loops.

Why go: Close to the city with good views of downtown. Close enough not to drive too far, but far enough to be near nature, near perfect.


Bowl and Pitcher, Riverside State Park

Best for: Easy walking/hiking.

Mileage: Numerous trails begin and merge around the Bowl and Pitcher. Easy strolls of a mile or less, or an all-day adventure further into the park, are possible.

Why go: At 14,000 acres, Riverside is the largest state park in Washington. The short trails just around the Bowl and Pitcher on the river are worth seeing for river and basalt formation views.


Tubbs Hill

Best for: Easy walking and hiking.

Mileage: 2.5-mile loop.

Why go: Because everyone else does. Really, it's a popular spot right on the edge of Coeur d'Alene's tourist and restaurant district, but still relaxing enough to get away from the city for just an hour or so. Plus, great lake views.


Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail

Best for: Easy walking and hiking.

Mileage: 3.3-mile partial loop trail and out-and-back.

Why go: A perfect blend of good views near Lake Coeur d'Alene mixed with lots of interpretive signs. It's educational and recreational. Can't beat that. 


MODERATE TRAILS

Iller Creek / Stevens Creek, Dishman Hills Conservation Area

Best for: Moderate hiking/walking and trail running.

Mileage: Five-mile loop from Iller Creek trailhead. 2.5-mile up-and-down from Stevens Creek trailhead. Both trails merge at the top, called Rocks of Sharon, with access to Tower Mountain.

Why go: A great hike, relatively short, with tons of reward at the top. You can sweat a lot or a little depending on which trailhead you use, and how fast you go up.


Dishman Hills Natural Area

Best for: Easy to moderate walkers, hikers, trail runners.

Mileage: Varies depending on loops you take. From two to eight miles depending on routes. See maps at trailheads or tinyurl.com/DishmanHillsCampCaro.

Why go: Close to the city but nestled south of I-90 against neighborhoods. The interior areas are wooded and shaded enough to not see the city around you, making you nearly forget you're that close. Rock outcroppings halfway up (Nimbus Knob) and the "top," Eagle Peak, offer panoramic views of Spokane, the Valley and into the Idaho panhandle.


Palouse Falls

Best for: Easy to moderate walking/hiking. Some scrambling required (careful!) if you're adventurous and want to get close to the very edge of the falls at the top or bottom.

Mileage: Variable; 1 to 3 miles depending on where you go.

Why go: Eastern Washington is full of geologic history and treasures, if you know where to look. It's not all farmland to the west and south of Spokane. Palouse Falls is a real natural treasure, relatively close by.


Deep Creek Canyon, Riverside State Park

Best for: Moderate walking and hiking with views higher up of Spokane River and North Spokane.

Mileage: About a 5-mile round trip, with options to extend on numerous side and branch trails.

Why go: You'll get a good diversity of landscapes and vegetation in a short distance, including a creek bed, ascending through basalt outcroppings, and up to a higher overlook with good opportunities for large bird sightings.


ADVANCED TRAILS

Chimney Rock

Best for: Moderate to advanced hiking and rock climbing.

Mileage: Four to 11 miles depending on approach and how far up you go.

Why go: Chimney Rock is among the most recognizable features in the North Idaho Selkirk Range (similar to Liberty Bell Mountain in Washington's North Cascades). If you're looking for an advanced hike (or overnight backpack), this is the place to go without too far a drive from Sandpoint or Coeur d'Alene.


Liberty Lake Loop

Best for: Moderate to intense walkers, hikers and trail runners.

Mileage: Eight-mile loop.

Why go: Early season will bring a good flow in the waterfall about halfway up the loop. The view north and east toward the lake is very nice from the trail on the switchback section above the cedar grove.


Knothead Loop, Little Spokane River

Best for: Moderate to advanced hiking or trail running.

Mileage: Seven-mile loop with significant elevation gain.

Why go: Start off flat with views of historic Native American painting (called Indian Painted Rocks) for a short, easy hike. If you want to keep ascending the full loop for the harder hike (and worthwhile view), go for it.


Mt. Kit Carson Trail, Mt. Spokane State Park

Best for: Moderate to intense hiking.

Mileage: Variable depending on starting point within park. Mt. Kit Carson, west of the Mt. Spokane summit, is accessed by several trails, number 130 or 160. Consult a park map in advance to determine your preferred route and mileage. The shortest option and quickest access is from the Cook's Cabin trailhead off the Summit Road inside the park.

Why go: Indeed, there are numerous hiking trails — 100 miles worth — in Mt. Spokane State Park. The Mt. Kit Carson Trail, off of taller Mt. Spokane, is equally worth it for its views and will most likely be less crowded.

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Shannon Steele

Shannon Steele

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