Mica Peak Traverse: Completing A New Trail Near Spokane
This fall, WTA volunteers and partners celebrated another win for trails in the Spokane-area, this time in the form of a trail connecting two of the region’s largest swaths of public land. The California Creek Trail, completed in mid-October, now officially connects Liberty Lake Regional Park and Mica Peak Conservation Area.
This fall, WTA volunteers and partners landed another win for trails in the Spokane area, this time in the form of a trail connecting two of the region’s largest swaths of public land. The California Creek Trail, completed in mid-October, now officially connects Liberty Lake Regional Park and Mica Peak Conservation Area.
I can see (and walk) for miles
Todd Dunfield, a WTA volunteer crew leader for the region, led several of the work parties on this connector trail this summer.
"This new trail is pretty exciting for Spokane because it offers some great elevation gain into 5,000-foot type forests very close to town. Spokane and Coeur d'Alene sit in a valley at about 2,000 feet of elevation and now close to a million people have a county park hiking experience that leads them up to a forest rich with Western Larch, Doug Fir, and views of our familiar valley as well as out onto the Palouse where Steptoe Butte resides."
Those gorgeous views are quite close to town, making the area idea for an after-work hike or a half-day weekend adventure.
"It is only a 30 minute drive to a trailhead for most people in Spokane and they can hike up into the headwaters of three major creek systems and visit some rich elk habitat right in their own backyards."
Build it better
While you’re enjoying those great views, be sure to look down, too. This route was popular with local users, and formalizing the trail here was important to give users a more intuitive, sustainable route to follow. So as you hike, Marvel at the work that WTA volunteers did to complete the California Creek Trail, the final connection between these two trail systems. Evergreen East Mountain Bike club members lent a hand on this work, too, benefiting bikers, hikers and horseback riders alike.
While COVID slowed our progress a bit, it didn’t deter the public from getting out there all summer long, highlighting the need for a formal route here.
The new connector trail now allows adventurous hikers to complete twelve miles of hiking (one way!) through the two parks. The trail connects Liberty Lake Regional Park to Mica Peak. The 5,300 acres of public land is one of the largest parcels of public land in the county, and boasts a nearly 50 miles of trails to enjoy.
Mileage like this benefits communities in a variety of ways. Runners from the Spokane Distance Project say it makes big races possible. It offers trail users tons of variety, so you can visit the same spot many times and do different routes on each visit. And a complex trail network also allows trail users to spread out, finding that solitude so many seek.
Come ready for rugged
Those interested in visiting Mica Peak should note that the true summit of Mica is owned by the FAA and is not open to the public. The area is also deceptively remote, with a wide variety of wildlife encounters possible while on the trail. Come prepared. Study up on your trail smarts and leave no trace skills. Trip reporters who have already tackled the route recommend bringing the county map.
Todd, no stranger to navigating this route in the winter, is aiming to do the traverse again soon, and might even consider a cross-country ski outing.
He notes, "It's a mere 24 miles. It hurts my legs just thinking about it, who's in?"