Overview: This guide is rated difficult simply because of its elevation variation and total distance. I call it the Diego Challenge. After my ... more »
This guide is rated difficult simply because of its elevation variation and total distance. I call it the Diego Challenge. After my ... more »12 lbs miniature Schnauzer who hiked it, and when finished, still wanted to keep going. It is a fun hike, takes you through several fauna zones of the mountain. All different type of trail surfaces, and overall tests your hiking abilities. Day Mountain peak is also one of the nicest places in Mt. Spokane State Park, a great place to stop for lunch.
• Mt. Spokane is a fee area, a Washington State Parks Discover Pass is required - $30 annual or $10 for single day use. The State Parks no longer receive any of your tax dollars, their operations are financed by fees. This includes just driving into the parks, for example to drive to the top of Mt. Spokane. There is a $99 fine for not having a Discover Pass. less «
If using the phone App: Go online for web links to maps & resources, trail video, and 360º panorama interactive photos.... more » www.everytrail.com
• Make sure you are in shape for this and wear proper equipment. Shoes or hiking boots that will not give you blisters. Liner socks - I like the one's that look like gloves. A trekking pole (or a set) does assist on the uphills - and is also good on tired legs coming back down. Especially the last 3 miles, all downhill, with the last 1/2 mile having a really steep drop.
• Warning: you will consume more water than what you expect, bring extra!!!
• FYI - As all trails on Mt. Spokane, this is leashed dogs only. There is a $75 fine. I have run across moose, sure glad the dog was leashed. Don't need him pissing off a moose. You probably don't want to know the fine and potential jail time penalties for you dog chasing wildlife. less «
Park at the entrance trail head - GPS navigation to parking area is 47.88802, -117.12548
FYI: non-hikers... I see a lot of people visiting Mount Spokane stop at this first trail head, walk a 1/4 of a mile up the trail and turn around. This is one of the steepest trail sections on the mountain!!! If you are looking for a nice casual trail, continue driving up to the Lower Loop Road Parking lot, then take the trail in there. Which... More puts you at the nicest picnic area on the mountain.
To the hikers, this is what makes this Diego Challenge an endurance test, from the get go you have elevation gain. The first 1/2 mile is at a steep incline, then you have 4 more miles till you reach the top of Trail 110 at Saddle Junction. However, you go through some of the nicest forest canopy on Mount Spokane.
Beware of mountain bikers, Trail 110 is their favorite trail. Remember the rule:
Horses yields to no one.
Hikers yields to horses.
Bikers yields to hikers and horses.Less
After the 1/2 mile "climb," you will happily indulge in a relatively even elevation gain for the next two miles. This area reminds you of old growth forest and probably is. Its a nice section of trail that sets a good pace for the rest of the hike. If you look to your left, you will (through the trees) see to top of Mt. Kit Carson, the ultimate... More destination (at about mile 7).Less
This is one of the best areas on Mount Spokane. I am always surprised that only occasionally are there people picnicking at the tables in this area. Its great for families with kids.
For those not up for the 13.3 mile Diego Challenge, you can park at the Lower Loop Road Parking area and join the hike from here. This is actually the path most... More people take. You do lose out of about 4 miles of hiking and only have a total elevation gain of about 600 feet - compared to 2,600 feet! However, gauge your abilities and hike accordingly. At the end of the day, its not worth pushing yourself.Less
In this area you start realizing how much elevation gain you have made. Its nice trails, some streams to cross. You come across one trail junction, take the upper trail, keep going on Trail 110.
This is a dangerous area for mountain bikers, its one of their favorite trails to ride. My advice, if you have a dog or kids along, stand your... More trail till you have collected them. Bikers have to yield to you the hiker, its their problem if they go shooting off into the brush for not watching out. -- That will earn me some friends --- Seriously though, the majority of mountain bikers are great at sharing the trail, but you do run into the occasional dimwit who's taken a few too many crashes or does not really understand civility.Less
This is off the hike, but worth noting - you are close to the CCC Cabin (a warming hut for winter users).
If you have encountered inclement weather, need a serious break or have someone in your party that is not going to make the whole Diego Challenge, retreat to the CCC Cabin. It is easily accessible to the North Summit Road.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! You have reached the Saddle Junction, end of the major elevation gain. Now your rewarded with a revitalizing mile stroll down the North Mt. Kit Carson Loop Road. As you can see in the photo, follow Diego.
Note about the trail numbers on Mount Spokane. They were updated/changed I believe in 2011. As such, some older maps... More will show different numbers (mine did). Main thing is that Trail 140 now replaces 115 and 135 (taken to the top of Mt. Spokane). When you come off Mt. Kit Carson, an older map will have you looking for Trail 115, when indeed it is Trail 140 you want.
This is a great view of the valley's to the north of Mt. Spokane State Park. Click the links for a 360º interactive panorama and a You Tube video. Well worth taking you time to stop and figure out different far away areas, as this is one of the only spots in the Park that you can see some areas.
Ahead, as you start on Trail 130 to Day Mountain... More peak, you have another elevation gain. Steep at first, quickly evens out.Less
You suddenly drop into Smith's Gap. Its an interesting interchange, but 50 feet down the road, you are back to it, this time on Trail 100 - last section of uphill elevation gain!!!
This section of Trail 100 is little used - too much of a climb on either end for casual hikers and mountain bikers. It is nice, and drops you down on top of the great picnic area listed in marker 4 of this guide. Your last stream crossing is also here, this one there is no option but to step into the water.
On your way down, you can catch a glance of Mt. Kit Carson though the trees and revel in your accomplishment. Beware though, its 2 miles down from the great picnic area and the last 1/2 mile is at a serious elevation drop - go slow, your feet will be tired.
If you are lucky, the Mt. Spokane Bear Creek Lodge will have their beer garden open - a... More cold and well deserved brew beckoning you down the last stretch of trail.Less