Saltese Uplands Loop

The Saltese Uplands are a grossy knob situated in the southernmost reaches of the Selkirks. Located between Spokane and Liberty Lake, the conservation area offers generous views of urban sprawl and the remnants of the Saltese Flats, a marshland drained in favor of Timothy hay in the late 1800s.

Location Selkirk Mountains
Rating 2.2 out of 5
Difficulty Moderate (some elevation)
Distance 5.5 miles
Duration 1:35 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 467 feet
High Point 2,634 feet (Carlson Hill)
Low Point 2,040 feet (Trailhead)
Trail Type Loop
Trailbed Packed dirt
Water None
Status County Park
Administration Spokane County
Permits None required
Conditions Excellent
Camping Not allowed
Maps USGS Greenacres, Liberty Lake
Trailhead Take I-90 exit #293 (Barker Road) and head south on Barker Road. After .7 miles turn left on Sprague and continue east for 1 mile. Turn right on S Henry Road and follow it .8 miles to the trailhead. There is a large parking lot on the left.

Google Directions (47.644006, -117.131257)

Season Year-around
Squirrel Density The Washingtonians are serious about their leash laws…
Features Meadow
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 21.4 miles
  • Lewiston 120.0 miles
  • Sandpoint 60.0 miles
  • Seattle 294.2 miles
  • Spokane 16.4 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date December 3, 2016

Its called "shrub steppe"From the parking lot the trail start in a southeasterly direction, paralleling the road closely. Several smaller trails lead along the rock formations higher up and are much nicer to hike on. Just before the half-mile mark, after crossing a flat open area and before climbing towards a ridge, a trail veers off to the left. The trail to the left leads up Turtle Gulch; alternatively you could go another 10-20 yard to the wider trail that follows the flank of the mountain upwards. The Turtle Gulch trail steadily rises as it moves through the open grassland. Towards the end if forks three ways; take the rightmost fork for a steep climb up to the ridge top. This gets you back on the main trail, now called Summit Loop (if you took the main trail bear left at the Y to get on Summit Loop).

Views of Liberty LakeA series of switchbacks elevates the trail towards Carlson Hill, the highest point of this hike. This section offers nice views of the Saltese Flats below and out towards Spokane. At the top of the hill you get a less grand view of a water tower across a decaying barbed wire fence. The trail now moves down the far side, with a good view of Liberty Lake and the Spokane valley out towards Idaho. Unfortunately, this section suffers from switchback overload, leading constantly back and forth despite only a negligent decline.

Hills to the south (believed to be Mica Peak)The path then turns west and rejoins the Uplands Loop. Bearing left, this leads to the conservation area’s boundary and hugs it closely. The trail is now a double-track. Over flattish ground the trail leads south, ultimately veering away southwest in the shape of a single-track. The path leads to an overlook near the southernmost tip of the Saltese Uplands with excellent views of the Flats and farmlands below.

The trail parallels the road closelyThen it’s downhill, with the trail curling around the mountain and skirting the main road for another 2 miles or so to the trailhead.

Enjoy this hike? Let us know in the comments below!

Trail near the parking lot
Trail near the parking lot
View of the Saltese Flats and the encroaching city
View of the Saltese Flats and the encroaching city
Its called "shrub steppe"
It’s called “shrub steppe”
View southwest
View southwest
A not-so-pretty water tower awaits atop Carlson Hill
A not-so-pretty water tower awaits atop Carlson Hill
Views of Liberty Lake
Views of Liberty Lake
View of Liberty Lake (the city) and the Rathdrum Prairie
View of Liberty Lake (the city) and the Rathdrum Prairie
Hills to the south (believed to be Mica Peak)
Hills to the south (believed to be Mica Peak)
This patch of land looks a lot like the rolling hills of the Palouse
This patch of land looks a lot like the rolling hills of the Palouse
View north towards Carlson Hill
View north towards Carlson Hill
The drained marshlands
The drained marshlands
The trail parallels the road closely
The trail parallels the road closely
Saltese Uplands Trailmap
Alternate Routes

  • After rejoining the Uplands Loop take a right onto the Short Draw trail for a shortened hike


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