The end of the semester is a busy time, and that often means foregoing larger adventures for some smaller ones closer to home. In the last week, I’ve been trying to keep active and take advantage of the local trails. One of these trails is the Headwaters trail on the western end of Moscow Mountain. In my five years here, I’ve never hiked this trail despite its close proximity and popularity among hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. Yet when all of my friends say they were on Moscow Mountain, they almost always mean the Headwaters trail.
Headwaters is a 5 mile lollipop loop around the drainage that creates the headwaters for Paradise Creek, Moscow’s main water feature. There are no major attractions along this trail such as stunning views for waterfalls, but it does offer a nice walk in the woods with some great opportunities for wildlife sightings and enjoying the spring wildflowers. Since I hiked this after work on Friday with limited daylight, I did not bring my camera and thus have no photos to share.
I’ve hiked Kamiak Butte many times. But each time, I’ve stuck to the main loop and ignored the relatively new primitive trail that takes you around the west end of the feature. Saturday, I did just that, hiking with a group of geocachers from Spokane and finding the last cache in the park. The primitive trail is a bit more difficult than the main trail. It’s narrower, rockier, and steeper, but it’s not by any means a strenuous hike. Instead, it takes you away from most of the crowds into some nice wooded terrain. During the descent, there is a spot that opens up with some spectacular views of the northwestern Palouse. The wildflowers this time of year are also pretty spectacular. Arrowleaf balsamroot are past their peak, but still dotting the hillside with splashes of yellow. Meanwhile, the larkspur and wild hyacinth have become abundant, and the phlox carpets the ground with little pink clusters. In the woods, the western meadowrue and fairy bells have begun blooming. Calypso orchids have been out for a few weeks, but are still going strong.
I have always liked Kamiak Butte, and with this extended loop, I like it even more. The full loop is about 4 miles long. Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted on the primitive trail, so plan on leaving your four-legged companions at home or just sticking to the main loop.