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Mount Spokane State Park, WA

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Rated  Favorite Wish List WA > Ponderosa
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 14 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,158 feet
Elevation Gain 3,500 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 34
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek, Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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30  2010-07-06 JimmyLyding
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Sep, Jun → 7 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  7:29am - 3:56pm
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Mount Kit Carson
2.3 mi away
4.1 mi
1,171 ft
Mount Spokane - Three Peaks Loop
2.6 mi away
14.0 mi
Dishman Hills Loop
17.9 mi away
2.5 mi
Liberty Lake Loop Trail
17.9 mi away
6.5 mi
1,290 ft
Little Spokane River
18.8 mi away
5.0 mi
Iller Creek Conservation Area Trail
20.5 mi away
2.0 mi
400 ft
Deep Creek Canyon Loop
21.0 mi away
4.6 mi
Spokane River Loop
21.1 mi away
6.0 mi
Tubbs Hill - Coeur d
Tubbs Hill - Coeur d'Alene
22.0 mi away
5.0 mi
500 ft
Canfield Mountain Trail System
22.1 mi away
8.0 mi
2,000 ft
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Flora Nearby
Culture Nearby
Great Hike in Eastern Washington
by JimmyLyding

Mount Spokane State Park is part of the state of Washington's extensive state park system, and was originally established in 1927. There are dozens of well-maintained trails within the park that offers myriad opportunities for hikers of all abilities.


The hike that is described here is widely regarded as the flagship hike in the park. It is frequently referred to as the "Three Peaks Loop," and is described as such in the popular book "100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest: Eastern Washington, Northern Rockies, Wallowas" by Rich Landers.

The trailhead features a vault toilet, free maps (donation box available), and a kiosk warning of the various dangers posed by the area's mountain lions, black bears, and moose. Moose are probably the most dangerous animals that one is likely to encounter here.

The first trail is #110, and it quickly climbs away from the trailhead with a mix of steep uphill and flatter segments. The forest here is a good example of the Columbian forest ecotype with mixed stands of Douglas fir, grand fir, ponderosa pine, Western redcedar, Western hemlock and larches under which extensive carpets of ferns and shrubbery dominate. The ponderosa pine in this region do not form the monolithic stands that we are used to seeing here in Arizona, but are only one of many species of conifer. This portion of the trail goes up the Burping Brook drainage before eventually crossing that creek at a picnic area.

There is a 4-way junction here, but you want to remain on trail #110, and the signage is superb. The extensive signage in the park features color contour maps with outlined trails and "You Are Here" indicators. The trail continues uphill along gentle switchbacks as the forest opens up a bit. Long distance views are still hard to come by as the trail eventually makes its way to a yurt-like toilet at Mount Kit Carson Loop Road. This area evidently has seen some fire damage, and I guesstimate it probably occurred about 10-15 years ago.

Go east on this road about 25 yards, then take trail #115 to the southwest for about 50 yards until its junction with trail #170 which heads west and will take you to the flattish summit of Mount Kit Carson. We saw some very friendly chipmunks here who tried to prey upon our snacks. Continue north on trail #170 to its junction with trail #130 and the summit of Day Mountain. The actual summit of Day Mountain is more of a ridge, and continuing down the trail for another 1/2 mile reveals an excellent spot with large rocks and incredible views of the Spokane River Valley, the Palouse, and the extensive mountains to the west and northwest.

We continued down the switchbacks of trail #130 until it reconnected with the Mount Kit Carson loop road. We followed the road back up past the spot where we initially hit it to the top of Beauty Mountain and the CCC cabin. The trails here get very confusing with lots of intersecting roads, trails, and unofficial paths.

Go east from the back side of the CCC cabin along a wide trail about 300 yards until its junction with trail #135. 135 can also be accessed from the Mount Kit Carson loop road just west of one of those helpful trail signs as well. This is the way to the summit of Mount Spokane.

Trail #135 was somewhat of a mess when we did it due to mud, but the views are stunning. Mount Kit Carson and Day Mountain loom in the near distance with the Palouse and the city of Spokane further out. This area also looks to have suffered fire damage, but there are still a lot of large trees. This trail finally reaches road at the summit very near the Vista House which is used by the ski patrol of the ski area. The views from here are incredible. Lake Coeur d'Alene and Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho are in view from here as are the nearby high mountains in southern British Columbia. There is a nice viewpoint from the south side of the summit near the electronic towers as well.

Head back down trail #135 back to trail #130 then over to Bald Knob campground @ Mount Spokane Park Drive. Cross the road and continue along 130 until heading south on 130a about 1/2 mile down from the road. This segment is relatively open forest along a nice drainage.

You will run into the Snowmobile Trailhead, and from there take trail #120 downhill back towards your original trailhead. This trail has a noticeable downhill grade, and also goes through a very dense Columbian forest above a creek that flows far below. The ferns here are in abundance. Eventually you will reach trail 120b after 2 miles, and that will take you back to the trailhead.

JimmyLyding
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Interstate 95 in Spokane take US Highway 395 (US Hwy 2 runs in conjunction) north. After roughly 10 miles take US Hwy 2 when it splits off to the east for roughly 5 miles until Hwy 206. Hwy 206 is also known as East Mount Spokane Park Drive. Take 206 approximately 15 miles to the park entrance. The trailhead for the hike I've written up is approximately 1/2 mile up E. Mount Spokane Park Drive from the park entrance on the west side of the road.
    page created by JimmyLyding on Jul 12 2010 11:49 pm
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