Local businesses, parks, and outdoor recreation areas are voted on every year by the readers of the INLANDER, which is the region's highly-trusted, uber-local media organization. In this blog, you'll find the three best hiking areas in Spokane.
1st Place: Dishman Hills Including Iller Creek and Rocks of Sharon
With hiking trails crisscrossing more than 3,200 acres of public land from the floor of the Spokane Valley to the top of one of the Selkirk Range’s southernmost peaks, the Dishman Hills bring the beauty of the Inland Northwest’s natural environment directly into the city, and that’s by design.
“Our goal is to preserve in perpetuity,” says Isobel Smith, outreach director at the Dishman Hills Conservancy. “Our first goal is to outright purchase the land so that in 100 years or 200 years the land won’t be developed, it will still be there for [the] public and wildlife.”
The Dishman Hills Conservancy helps manage and preserve three distinct areas of public land, with the Dishman Hills Natural Area at its northern end; from Glenrose east to Phillips Creek across its midsection; and along Iller Creek to the Rocks of Sharon in the south.
In the natural area, hikers can meander around massive granite outcroppings. Glenrose and Phillips Creek provide sweeping prairie vistas and open skies. More adventurous hikers can follow Iller Creek along the forested eastern slopes of Tower Mountain up to the Rocks of Sharon, where even more massive granite monoliths stand atop the ridge and look out across the vast Palouse.
“Spokane is really unique in that it has a lot of different ecosystems,” Smith says.
The Dishman Hills are a contrast, where many of those ecosystems exist in their natural state while surrounded by urban sprawl that the conservancy has been working to halt on its land for more than half a century. That precarious position, with development fencing it in on three sides, is also part of its charm. It’s deep in nature, but at the same time it’s right here.
“What I love about the Dishman Hills is that you can get to any trailhead within a 20-minute drive from wherever you live in Spokane,” Smith says.
2nd Place: Liberty Lake Loop
Liberty Lake loop is a prime spring hiking destination. About halfway up the loop trail, you'll come across the waterfall flowing perfectly. Taking the loop clockwise, the first two miles are relatively flat until the cedar grove but, the real workout begins within the rest of the 1,200 feet in elevation gain in the following 2 miles. The counterclockwise route has a steep grade for the first mile but, it flattens afterward with a gradual ascent to the top. The full loop is 8-miles so, it's an ideal day activity.
3rd Place: Mt Spokane State Park
With over 100 miles dedicated to hiking trails, Mt Spokane is an obvious local choice when it comes to the best hiking areas. From moderate to easy trails, Mt Spokane State Park is a refuge for anyone needing some mountain air and stunning scenery. One trail of note is Mt Kit Carson. This hike is severely underrated so, it has the potential to be less crowded. Based on the starting point of the trail, mileage will vary but, the full length of the trail will take you 7 miles one way. Easily access the trail from Trail 130 or Trail 160. The shortest option is to start from Cook's Cabin trailhead off the Summit Road, which is only accessible in the late spring and summer months when the road is open. More on Mt Spokane State Park Trails here.