Posted on August 29, 2017 at 6:00 am
If you signed up for the Summer Reading Program at scld.northwestreads.org, then you might have noticed all the great hikes listed within many of the library-specific challenges. As a non-native to the Spokane area, this was just the motivation I needed to explore my new home.
The summer for my family means spending as much time outside as possible. So with my 16-month-old toddler in tow, we set out to hike through the Summer Reading Program challenges.
Turnbull was a beautiful place to start my Epic Summer of Spokane Hikes. We headed out one Tuesday morning in the early summer. It was cool, quiet, and peaceful. The path is well maintained, and though not fully paved, it is stroller-friendly. We followed the Pine Lakes Loop Trail from the parking area around to the Ranger Station. Then we drove the one-way road, stopping to hike the Kepple Peninsula Trail as well. A wonderful place to spend the day, exploring nature.
Dishman Hills Conservation Area
Dishman Hills is a great go-to trail system for you and your independent munchkins. The crisscrossing trails and multiple parking areas means that each visit can be a completely unique experience. The best known parking area is located just off of Appleway in Spokane Valley. During the summer months the upper parking lot is open, and there is a playground and a bathroom nearby. The Conservancy includes two more areas to explore as well: The Glenrose Unit and the Iller Creek Unit (Big Rock).
Story Trail at St George’s & Fish Hatchery
The trail at St George is a short 1/4 mile trail. Along the way there are the laminated pages of a different book each month. We read Step Gently Out by Helen Frost during our visit. The trail follows along the side of a hill overlooking the school. It was beautiful and quiet; we startled a huge doe halfway up the hill. I carried my toddler in the backpack because this trail is too steep for a stroller, but older kids would be able to hike this easily. In addition to the deer, we observed birds, butterflies, bees, and dragonflies.
Then, a quick walk down the road will get you to the Fish Hatchery.
The Fish Hatchery is a learning experience more than a hike. You can see the enormous tanks of rainbow trout. The largest of these we were allowed to feed, and after watching me throw a few fish food pellets into the tank, Henry understood the idea and wholeheartedly joined in. He also thoroughly enjoyed watching the tiny fish in the circular tanks, especially when whole schools of them darted away at our approach.
Read more about in the Out There Monthly article “Visit the Spokane Fish Hatchery & Story Trail” by Amy Silbernagel McCaffree.
Holmberg Park and Conservation Area
Holmberg Park is a good sized park in its own right, complete with baseball field and jungle gym. Behind it, though, is where the adventure really begins. The Holmberg Conservation Area is about 7 acres of native plants and animals, rustic trails, and great views. This was a fun place for my toddler to get out of the backpack and explore on his own. We hiked up the hill and into the trees a little before stopping and letting Henry sightsee at ground level.
This is also a great place for snowshoeing and cross country skiing, after all this summer heat is replaced with snow.
Learn more at the Holmberg Conservation Area webpage.
If you’re looking for a trail adventure without going too far from the urban areas of Spokane, look no further than the Centennial Trail. There are 37 miles of Centennial Trail between Nine Mile Falls and the Idaho Stateline. The beauty of this trail system is that you can start and stop anywhere along the route, creating for yourself a short stroll along the river, or a lengthy bike ride into Idaho (where the trail continues another 24 miles)! My family loves taking little walks here, starting from spots such as Mission Park, Peoples Park, or the Elliot Drive Military Cemetery. Henry loves to toddle along on his own on this well maintained, paved trail.
Learn more at the Spokane River Centennial Trail webpage.
Whether you’re a newly minted Spokanite like myself or just looking for new trail suggestions, stop by your local library and check out our collection of local trail guidebooks to get inspired. Here are a few of my favorites:
We have quite a few choices near Spokane for getting outside with the kids, the dog, a few friends, or solo. With school starting this week and next and the inevitable changes in weather heading our way, I encourage you to try a trail you’ve never been on before. You might find a new favorite!
Tags: Centennial Trail, Dishman Hills Conservation Area, guidebooks, hikes, hiking, hiking trails, Holmberg Park Conservation Area, local hikes, online summer reading, spokane, Spokane Centennial Trail, Spokane Fish Hatchery, Story Trail at St. George's School, trail guidebooks, Turnbull