This is a lovely urban trail system outside of Spokane and near the Little Spokane River. The multi-use trails here have recently received a complete upgrade and now boast interconnected loop trails that total nearly 5 miles.
The hike begins at the top of Waikiki Springs (so named for the way water bubbles up from the aquifer in all seasons) in the Fairmont neighborhood near Mead High School. The adjacent 114 acres of land is owned and managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and a Discover Pass is required for parking. The parking area is very small, so those who arrive and find it full should observe "no parking" signs for the neighborhood and find street-side parking in an area where it is permitted and does not block neighbors' driveways.
The hike begins by dropping down a series of switchbacks on an old road bed to the neighborhood below, losing nearly 200' elevation as it descends to the Little Spokane River. There is a lovely trailside memorial bench along the way which serves as a nice place to sit and take in the view overlooking the Little Spokane River and nearby springs and wetland. The trail then passes through a neighborhood nestled in adjacent to the WDFW land at the bottom of the switchbacks, so visitors are asked to please follow the "footprints" painted onto the public easement. The homes at the bottom are private property, so please respect all signage. Some of the homes date back to the historic Wakiki Springs Dairy that was located on this parcel in the early 1900s.
The trail continues on an old road bed and crosses over the Little Spokane River on a recently restored bridge before entering a 95-acre parcel acquired by the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy (INLC) in October 2020. There is a large kiosk with interpretive signage and a map located at the INLC property boundary at approximately the 1-mile mark.
Recent trail upgrades have completely revamped the trail system on the INLC property, maximizing views for visitors and replacing an old network of social trails with a new interconnected loop system built on a sustainable grade for ease of access in all seasons. The three trails that make up the trail network are Aster, Eagle and Granite.
The easiest trail is the Aster Loop, named for the flowers one is most likely to see blooming here from the late summer into fall. Aster is the middle trail option next to the kiosk but also serves as a connector trail between the other two loops. It climbs approximately 100' elevation from the kiosk and connects to either of the two other trails at the top of the climb. Continue right to stay on Aster, which makes a short loop before connecting back to the kiosk at the bottom. To hike from the trailhead and on just Aster and back would be an approximately 2.6-mile hike.
Eagle Trail is on the far left from the junction near the kiosk. It is named for the excellent viewpoint it provides of an active eagle nest in a cottonwood tree in the wetland below. The trail is far enough way to allow for good viewing of the eagles when they are present (bring binoculars!) without causing stress to the raptors. The trail is approximately 1 mile long with 150' elevation gain to where it joins the top of the Aster Loop/Granite Trail junction. Hikers may choose to return via Aster to the right, or continue left/straight on Granite.
Granite is the final trail in the system, so named for the numerous rocky outcroppings found along the way. The majority of the trail consists of granite, but watch for the occasional erratic basalt rock, too! Granite has a fun series of switchbacks among the rocks to climb and descend, and tops out at 1790' elevation and the high point on the trail system. In 1 mile, it rejoins the main trail back at the INLC kiosk.
The trail system is open to hikers, mountain bikers, snowshoers and skiers. As it is important wildlife habitat, leash laws should be observed by visitors with canine companions and hikers are asked to remain on the trail system. At 209 acres total, it is a relatively small property that packs of a lot of recreational trails and crucial wildlife habitat into a tiny area. Please observe private property signs along the way at points where the trail system passes close to adjacent private property.