The days are finally longer and warmer, meaning summer is here! For many, including myself, once the clock strikes five, there’s a mad dash to find the nearest back porch BBQ, newest hiking spot or local lake for a quick dip.
I will be the first to admit that as soon as the weather brightens up, I'm ready to end my gym membership and turn to the great outdoors for my weekly workouts. I'm a true lover of the Pacific Northwest and all its beautiful hiking trails. This summer, I want to tackle as many as I can.
If you're ready to take a trek, all you’ll need is a comfortable pair of shoes and plenty of water. After that, grab a friend, a loved one or four-legged companion and go explore! If you’re like me, perhaps take a cold local craft beer to enjoy once you get to the top…a nice reward to accompany the breathtaking views.
To give you a jump-start, here’s a list of my favorite hikes thus far. Spokane Valley, right off Dishman-Mica Road and Appleway Boulevard, you’ll find a small parking lot and south entry to Rocks of Sharon. This hike is full of mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers and climbers. The top has gigantic granite monoliths that climbers can be found belaying down. The fun isn’t limited to those in harnesses though: my favorite part is to scramble to the top of the rocks that are climbable without gear and watch the sunset while toasting with a chilled mason jar full of Spokane craft cider or IPA. This hike has various trails to the top, some of which include more difficult terrain, including a 1,200 ft. gain in elevation. Don’t be intimidated though. I've seen entire families with children of all ages, down to those tough moms toting their babies up on their backs. No matter your skill level, challenge yourself as these views are definitely worth a little sweat.
Liberty Lake. This one full of cottonwoods, ponderosa pines, douglas firs and cedars. In addition to the great views of Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, the trail eventually levels out and reaches a gorgeous waterfall, which is a great spot for a photo-op, quick snack or resting point. This hike is great for summer as shade trees provide coverage to keep you cool the majority of the way. The climb can be tough at times, with a 2,800 ft. elevation gain, but the beauty of the trail and natural discoveries along the way will distract you from the strenuous portions. Also, do remember that since this is a county park, there is a two-dollar usage fee, so bring cash!