The Deep Creek Canyon loop trail winds around the northern section of Riverside State Park without actually crossing Deep Creek. Open Ponderosa forests, fields of wildflowers, sweeping views from the edge of basalt cliffs, and the cooling waters of Deep Creek are just some of the highlights of this loop. The return leads through a moonscape of basalt talus and sky-piercing spires and along the smooth flow of the Spokane River.
|Rating||3.1 out of 5|
|Difficulty||Moderate (some uphill hiking)|
|Duration||2:07 hours moving time (hiking)|
|Elevation Gain||881 feet|
|High Point||2,207 feet (pine bluffs)|
|Low Point||1,608 feet (Spokane River)|
|Trailbed||Packed dirt, loose rocks, old logging roads|
|Water||Deep Creek and Spokane River, but recommend against taking water from those sources due to agricultural and industrial run-off|
|Administration||Washington Parks and Recreation|
|Permits||Discover Pass required|
|Camping||There is a campground in the Nine-Mile-Falls area|
|Maps||USGS Spokane NW|
|Trailhead||Take I-90 exit #280A (Maple Street) and turn right onto Walnut. Follow Walnut for about 2 miles, then turn left onto W Northwest Boulevard. After .7 miles turn right onto N Cochran Street, then take N Driscoll Boulevard after .1 mile. Continue on Driscoll until you get to the complicated intersection with WA-291; you want to end up going north on WA-291 for about 6 miles. Turn left onto Charles Road, crossing a bridge just below Nine Mile Falls. Shortly after the bridge take a left onto W Carlson Road. This is a narrow paved road. Follow it for half a mile; the trailhead is on the right where the pavement ends.
Google Directions (47.772303, -117.552336)
|Squirrel Density||Dogs must be leashed|
|Date||June 3, 2017|
Back in March we tried to hike Trail 25 in Riverside State Park in its entirety, but were stopped by a torrent of water in Deep Creek. This loop hike completes the area north of Deep Creek and includes a short side trip to the Spokane River.
At the trailhead you could actually take the single-track heading northwest into the woods, making sure to take the first left to get back to Carlson Road, crossing it, and heading north to rejoin with Trail 25. We chose instead to cross Carlson Road right away and took the wide trail #402 for a quarter mile uphill. The intersection with Trail 25 is unfortunately not marked; Trail #25 is a much narrower single-track (take a right). The path then heads back towards Carlson Road but veers sharply westwards just before reaching it. It continues to parallel Carlson Road up to around the 1-mile mark, then heads south through light Ponderosa forest, filled, it seemed, with mosquitoes. They weren’t horrible as long as one moved at a nice clip, but any pause meant swarms nosediving on us like squadrons of Spitfires. Luckily we brought Deet and Buffs.
Around the 2-mile mark the path turned left (this is marked, but watch out because Trail 25 is blocked by a fallen log) and leads you to the edge of the bluff with some amazing views. Venture out to the left a bit towards the powerlines for nice views, a bench and an osprey nest on a powerline pole below.
The trail continues south along the bluff’s edge for a half mile and the views just get better. Then the trail descends, crossing basalt talus slopes, and heads into open forest. It switchbacks and reroutes northwards to another switchback. If you want to connect to the Riverside State Park Loop, take a right and follow #25 to West Pine Bluff Road, cross it and head eastwards to West Seven Mile Road. Cross that and continue to North Inland Road, which is the place where the Riverside State Park Loop trail guide left off.
Instead, we took the #410 connector trail, which leads lower through light Ponderosa forest and dead-ends after a few more switchbacks at the eastern section of Trail #25 (along #410, when in doubt, take a right). Take a right onto Trail #25, and follow it sharply lower through basalt rock formations to Deep Creek Canyon and continue until you reach the creek bottom. The picture here was entirely different from what we encountered in March. Gone is the torrid rage of the creek, replaced by a meandering brook that’s easily traversed by rock-hopping!
Turn around and head back up Trail #25 to the fork with trail #411 at the 3.5-mile mark. This is an interesting section of trail, where you hike among tall spires and columns of basalt rock, through sweeping talus fields, and gape through narrow chasms into Deep Creek canyon. It reminded us of a moonscape!
Trail #411 ends at the paved Centennial Trail where Deep Creek merges into the Spokane River. Follow the river downstream for maybe a quarter-mile, then take trail #400, which leads uphill into the pine forest. Just before the 5-mile mark you will reach an exceedingly impressive lone basalt spire. Shortly afterwards trail #400 reunites with trail #25, which you will take northbound back to the trailhead.
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- Connect to the Riverside State Park Loop trail #25 (see separate trail guide)
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