Mount Spokane Perimeter XC Ski Loop

The Mount Spokane Perimeter Loop follows the outermost trails of the Mount Spokane Nordic Ski Area in a counterclockwise fashion. The tour extends just over 16 miles and includes 1,300 feet of elevation gain on trails groomed for tracked or skate skiing.

Location Selkirk Mountains
Rating 3.2 out of 5
Difficulty More Difficult (some segments are categorized as difficult by the Mount Spokane Ski Park)
Distance 16.2 miles
Duration 3:54 hours moving time (cross-country skiing)
Elevation Gain 1,295 feet
High Point 4,796 feet (Nova Hut)
Low Point 3,680 feet (Junction of Upper and Lower Outer Limits)
Trail Type Loop
Trailbed Groomed for skate and track skiing
Water Only at Selkirk Lodge
Status State Park
Administration Washington Parks and Recreation
Permits Snow Park and Special Groomed permits
Conditions Grooming is typically excellent
Camping There are campgrounds in the state park. There are also two warming huts along the trail, Selkirk Lodge and Nova Hut.
Maps USGS Mount Spokane
Trailhead Take I-90 exit #287 and head north on Argonne Road for 8.5 miles (Argonne will turn into Bruce Road). At the roundabout turn right onto WA-206 Mount Spokane Park Drive and follow it to the trailhead (about 16 miles). Alternatively, take the I-90 Sullivan exit and head north via Sullivan, Wellesley, Progress and Forker to WA-206.

Google Directions (47.903554, -117.099842)

Season Winter
Squirrel Density Actually saw one! But dogs are not allowed on groomed trails except on skijoring days.
Features Structure
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 44.5 miles
  • Lewiston 135.8 miles
  • Sandpoint 78.2 miles
  • Seattle 310.1 miles
  • Spokane 28.9 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
Date January 7, 2017

Halfway down the trail, the views are good from Valley View trailSince this is a counterclockwise perimeter loop, the choice of trail is simply the one to the right. Thus, start out on the Valley View trail above the Selkirk Lodge (that’s the one to the right :)). The trail weaves through a forested area with a clearing halfway down and nice views across the Spokane valley. Continue on to Junction #1 and take the Larch trail. This trail moves through dense forest, and many times is covered with needles and small branches, especially following stormy days. It also tends to be more icy than other trails. Towards the end of the trail it swerves sharply left and steeply uphill to Junction #2.

Nova hutAt Junction #2 select the Silver trail, which contours along the mountain, offering occasional filtered views, then curves around and slopes uphill towards Nova Hut. Past Nova Hut, make a sharp right just before the bathroom building onto Quartz Mountain trail.

Quartz Mountain trailThe trail skirts Quartz Mountain and Horse Mountain with decent views. About a third into the trail, a couple of switchbacks lead lower, then the trail flattens out before descending once again. Overall, the descent here isn’t quite as nice as Shady Way / Twin Lakes, but nevertheless this is a pleasant portion and it is mostly downhill.

Twin Lakes trailAt around the five-mile-mark the trail joins up with Twin Lakes and follows that downhill to Junction #7. Take the Buck Land trail, which opens up the first filtered view towards the east. These are about to get much better, though. Follow Buck Land, which can be tricky as it heads quite steeply downhill in places, all the while curving around quite a bit.

View from Upper Outer Limits before the declineEventually you emerge onto Mica Road, a nice wide road, which you follow to its terminus at Junction #8. Here you could take Tamarama to shorten the loop (Tamarama leads to Upper Tripp’s Loop). To continue, however, head south onto Upper Outer Limits and prepare for great views. These are about to get even more spectacular as the trail curls around the mountain to a large clearing with views to the east and north, with the Selkirk Crest on the horizon.

Many sweeping switchbacks along the decline on Upper Outer Limits trailThe trail then heads downhill fast, a fun ride, involving several extensive switchbacks. The low point of the entire loop is reached at the bottom, when the trail turns into Lower Outer Limits and meanders in a northwesterly direction along the side of the mountain (mostly flat to slightly up).

Trail near Tripps KnobThe road eventually rises to meet Junction #11, and here you don’t want to go right. To the right is a short spur that dead-ends on Tripp’s Knob (it is not always groomed, but was when I was there). So take a left and a short while later you come to another intersection. To make this truly a perimeter loop, take a right onto Lower Tripp’s Loop, which leads to Linder Ridge at Junction #6. However, doing so increases the overall mileage somewhat and, as it heads downhill first, increases the ascent. Your choice; I took Upper Tripp’s Loop, which winds through the woods at a steady incline, past Junction #10 (Tamarama) back to Mica Road (Junction #9). From that junction it’s a short downhill run to Junction #6 where Mica, Lower Tripp’s Loop and Linder Ridge meet (as well as Moose Meadow, if you want to take that route).

View from Linder Ridge trailStay on Linder Ridge, which contours flattish along the mountain for about a mile, then climbs the hill continuously, moves past Junction #1, and emerges on the lower side of Selkirk Lodge.

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

Selkirk parking lot and Mount Spokane
Selkirk parking lot and Mount Spokane
Valley View trail
Valley View trail
Halfway down the trail, the views are good from Valley View trail
Halfway down the trail, the views are good from Valley View trail
Larch trail
Larch trail
Filtered views on Larch trail
Filtered views on Larch trail
Silver trail
Silver trail
Nova hut
Nova hut
Quartz Mountain trail
Quartz Mountain trail
View from back of Quartz Mountain
View from back of Quartz Mountain
A prominent hill southwest of Quartz Mountain
A prominent hill southwest of Quartz Mountain
Twin Lakes trail
Twin Lakes trail
At the tail end of Mica road
At the tail end of Mica road
Upper Outer Limits trail
Upper Outer Limits trail
View from Upper Outer Limits before the decline
View from Upper Outer Limits before the decline
Many sweeping switchbacks along the decline on Upper Outer Limits trail
Many sweeping switchbacks along the decline on Upper Outer Limits trail
Clearcuts along Upper Outer Limits open up spectucular views
Clearcuts along Upper Outer Limits open up spectucular views
Lower Outer Limits trail
Lower Outer Limits trail
View from Lower Outer Limits trail
View from Lower Outer Limits trail
Trail near Tripps Knob
Trail near Tripp’s Knob
Upper Tripps Loop trail
Upper Tripp’s Loop trail
Semi-frozen puddle along Upper Tripps Loop trail
Semi-frozen puddle along Upper Tripp’s Loop trail
Junction #10 (Tamarama and Upper Tripps Loop)
Junction #10 (Tamarama and Upper Tripp’s Loop)
Junction #9 (Mica and Upper Tripps Loop)
Junction #9 (Mica and Upper Tripp’s Loop)
Linder Ridge trail
Linder Ridge trail
View from Linder Ridge trail
View from Linder Ridge trail
Selkirk Lodge
Selkirk Lodge
Trailmap
Alternate Routes

  • To make this truly a perimeter loop take the Lower Tripp’s Loop trail instead of Upper Tripp’s Loop
  • Refer to the trail map for alternative routes; there are miles and miles of groomed trails!


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