Slavin Conservation Area Loop

The Slavin Conservation Area covers 628 acres of Ponderosa forest, rolling meadows, marshes and a lengthy pond much treasured by waterfowl. The site of the pond and wetlands was in fact farmland for most of the past century, drained by early settlers (you won’t find the pond on the older USGS maps), and now restored to provide wildlife habitat. The trail circumnavigates most of the lake, but skips the last quarter due to heavy flooding. Instead, it loops back through fir and pine forest in a figure-eight loop and climbs the bluffs along the eastern shore for a bird’s eye view of the area.

Location Channeled Scablands
Rating 2.9 out of 5
Difficulty Easy
Distance 5.8 miles
Duration 1:48 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 124 feet
High Point 2,422 feet (bluffs overlooking pond)
Low Point 2,324 feet (pond)
Trail Type Loop
Trailbed Packed dirt, old logging roads
Water Recommend against filtering water from pond due to agricultural runoff
Status Conservation Area
Administration Spokane County
Permits None required
Conditions Generally excellent, but flooded and muddy in many places. Likely not a problem during summer months
Camping Not allowed
Maps USGS Spokane SW
Trailhead Take I-90 exit #279 for US-195 S (Colfax/Pullman) and follow 195 for 9.5 miles. Turn right onto E Washington Road, a gravel road. You’ll end up at the trailhead after half a mile, at the intersection of Washington and Keeney Roads (slightly to the right).

Google Directions (47.53703, -117.412493)

Season Year-around
Squirrel Density Dogs must be leashed
Features Lake, Grove, Meadow
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 43.3 miles
  • Lewiston 94.8 miles
  • Sandpoint 81.9 miles
  • Seattle 286.2 miles
  • Spokane 10.7 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
    Date May 14, 2017

    Meadow near trailheadThe trail starts out by crossing a broad level meadow and leads right up to the edge of the pond at the half-mile mark. Near the pond the trail is soggy and flooded in many places and muddy elsewhere, at least in spring. At the pond you get to meet the local bird population, which is rather extensive and exceedingly vocal and likes to cling to last year’s dried-up cattail stalks.

    Much of the trail is single-trackThe trail hugs the lake’s shore going south, and was flooded. Luckily, a secondary trail (single track) moves up into the light forest and parallels the lake at a save (that is, dry) distance.

    Arrowleaf balsam rootDuring this time of spring the forest floor is sprouting all kinds of wild flowers, most prominently arrowleaf balsam root. The trail climbs a small knoll, descends on the other side and crosses a grassy meadow sprinkled with sprawling trees. Occasionally the path meets up with other trails, but you really can’t go wrong; when in doubt simply bear right.

    View of pond from western shoreAs you come to a pretty stand of aspen near the lake, the trail starts to veer away from the pond and heads towards the upper, smaller pond, also teeming with birds. After crossing a low dam at the 1.5-mile mark, the trail curls around the southern end of the main pond and heads north, this time a bit higher and thus mostly on dry ground. The trail leads to the far end of the pond, entering in and out of open pine forest, and providing ample views of the pond and the opposite side.

    Geese and goslingsAbout 2.8-miles into the hike the trail moves along a fence line which was completely flooded. In fact, a family of geese enjoyed that area very much. During the summer months you can probably follow the fence and hike around the northern end of the lake back to the trailhead, thereby reducing this to a 3-mile loop; however, during the rainy season it’s time to turn back and around the 3-mile mark you’ll come upon a fork. Take a right for a pretty walk in the woods towards the edges of the conservation area.

    Trail heading towards the bluffsJust before the 4-mile mark the trail once again meets up with the outbound trail. Then it’s back across the dam and on the eastern shore onto a wider trail that leads slightly uphill through the forest. Shortly it turns northbound and meets up once again with the outbound trail, but almost immediately a single-track branches off to the right and climbs the low bluffs overlooking the pond. Follow this trail, making sure to remain on the single-track as it bisects a wider trail.

    View of pond from bluffsThe single-track contours along the edge of the bluff and offers nice views. It also features a pretty meadow, stocked with ground squirrels, and interesting rock formations. A little past the 5-mile mark the trail descends through light forest, crosses a grassy meadow and a gravel trail, then re-enters the woods. In short order you’ll end up on a wide double-track that pierces a dense aspen thicket and leads to the parking lot.

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

    Meadow near trailhead
    Meadow near trailhead
    Reeds at pond
    Reeds at pond
    The birds love last years dried-up cattail stalks
    The birds love last year’s dried-up cattail stalks
    Much of the trail is single-track
    Much of the trail is single-track
    Arrowleaf balsam root
    Arrowleaf balsam root
    View of the pond from a small hillock
    View of the pond from a small hillock
    Larger trees, planted by homesteaders, interspersed in a meadow
    Larger trees, planted by homesteaders, interspersed in a meadow
    View towards southern end of pond
    View towards southern end of pond
    Pond and aspen grove
    Pond and aspen grove
    Close-up of the pond and cattails
    Close-up of the pond and cattails
    Flooded trail
    Flooded trail
    Pretty blue flower. Not sure what it is
    Pretty blue flower. Not sure what it is
    On the wester shore the trail runs higher up and is mostly dry
    On the wester shore the trail runs higher up and is mostly dry
    View of pond from western shore
    View of pond from western shore
    Light ponderosa forest
    Light ponderosa forest
    Looking towards southern tip from western shore
    Looking towards southern tip from western shore
    View across the pond towards trailhead
    View across the pond towards trailhead
    Geese and goslings
    Geese and goslings
    Cattails
    Cattails
    The trail moves along this fence and circles around the northern tip of the pond. It is completely flooded.
    The trail moves along this fence and circles around the northern tip of the pond. It is completely flooded.
    Prominent tree on western shore
    Prominent tree on western shore
    Through fir and pine the "alternate" trail heads away from the pond
    Through fir and pine the “alternate” trail heads away from the pond
    Bird sitting on a dried-up cattail stalk near dam
    Bird sitting on a dried-up cattail stalk near dam
    Trail heading towards the bluffs
    Trail heading towards the bluffs
    View of pond from bluffs
    View of pond from bluffs
    Rock formations on bluffs
    Rock formations on bluffs
    Trail dropping down from bluffs towards the meadow
    Trail dropping down from bluffs towards the meadow
    Down at the meadow. Skip the gravel path in favor of the single-track through the woods
    Down at the meadow. Skip the gravel path in favor of the single-track through the woods
    A pleasant single-track leads through the woods to a wider double-track
    A pleasant single-track leads through the woods to a wider double-track
    Aspen grove
    Aspen grove
    Back at the trailhead meadow
    Back at the trailhead meadow
    Trailmap

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