A Hike To Add To Your List
The Northwest: A place known for its expansive forests, incredible lakes, and endless trails. While this may be a stereotype that does not depict the entire northwest section of the United States, stereotypes do exist for a reason. Spokane and the surrounding area has more lakes, rivers, and nature trails than you can probably visit in your life. With limited time and the cost of travel, it’s nice to know which ones are worth checking out and which are duds, or dead end after a quarter mile (a problem I often run into in this area).
Indian Painted Rocks is an obvious choice for those looking for an easy and beautiful day hike, but because this is a well-known location it can be crowded, and sometimes it’s nice to feel alone when you’re in the wilderness.
If you’re looking for an incredible view and less people to ruin the ambience of the great outdoors, instead of going to Indian Painted Rocks on your day off work try hitting the Knothead trail. If you want to make it a longer hike you can actually combine this trail with Indian Painted Rocks to make an approximately 7-mile loop.
Located just off highway 291, the Knothead trailhead is easy to access and provides one of the most panoramic views in the area. While slightly more strenuous than Indian Painted Rocks, it is well worth it. The trail winds up a hillside and after about a mile you will come to a road. Do not make the mistake of thinking this is the end of the trail and turn around, as the real views come after this. While the trail gets a bit less defined once you cross this road and you might find yourself doing some trailblazing, it’s a fairly open area and thus easy to navigate. Between the spectacular rock outcroppings, meadows of wildflowers, and incredible view, this is a spot that should definitely make it on your hiking bucket list. From this point you can see everything from Lake Spokane to Indian Trail, and have a great view of the Little Spokane River below.
While exploring in this area tread carefully. There are cliffs and the territory is prime for snakes, mountain lions, and moose. While awesome to see from a distance, you don’t want to find yourself in close contact with these animals. I have seen several moose while hiking in this area, so definitely keep your eyes open.
Although this trail is not too far from main roads and town, it feels like an escape. Its one of those places you’re close to civilization but feel miles away.
Directions to Trailhead: From Suncrest go south on highway 291. Turn left on Riverpark Ln, and park in the parking lot just off the highway on the right. You will have to walk up the hill only about a quarter of a mile before seeing the trailhead on the left.
If you want to do the loop starting with Indian Painted Rocks, you go south from Suncrest on the highway and continue through Nine Mile Falls. Take a left on Rutter Parkway and follow Rutter Parkway until you come to a parking lot on the left. Park here and start your hike at the Indian Painted Rocks trailhead.