Hike a short stint on the Palouse to Cascades Trail, crossing high trestle bridges and roaming through old-growth forest with expansive views of nearby peaks, all just a short drive away from the city.
The trail begins on the southern side of the parking lot, a climb up to a service road. For 0.1 miles, the dirt trail is relatively steep, rocky, and narrow, but you will soon hit a gravel service road and the trail will widen and flatten out. At the service road, turn right and continue up the gently uphill-sloping service road for 0.1 miles.
Come to a junction sign and turn left to begin hiking on the Palouse to Cascades Trail, a wide flat gravel trail from here on out (except on some bridges). The trail heads into the forest, with many mossy trees and ferns surrounding it.
In 0.25 miles, the trees to your left thin out to reveal beautiful views of the peaks across I-90; catch a glimpse of Mailbox Peak right across the interstate. The views continue to fade in and out throughout the rest of the hike as the trees become less and more dense.
In about 0.4 miles, you’ll reach a picnic table with expansive peak views next to a bulletin board. You may encounter climbers here, as this is also an area known as Deception Crags, a well-known rock climbing location.
Very shortly, you’ll reach the first large bridge of the hike. Cross the long trestle bridge over Change Creek, about 0.1 miles in length. Look over the metal chain-link fence along the bridge down at creek on your way over to the other side.
Cross a couple of comparatively small bridges and in just over 0.1 miles, you’ll reach another picnic table. There are completely clear expansive views of the interstate and peaks across the way here, a wonderful place to have lunch or a break. If this table is taken, there is another with excellent views as well in just a few hundred feet, at the beginning of the Hull Creek trestle bridge.
The bridge over Hull Creek is not for those afraid of heights! The bridge is very high up, with incredible views along the way as the trees clear up. The bridge ends in about 0.1 miles, heading back under a tree canopy into the forest.
For the next 1.2 miles, enjoy being surrounded by old-growth and greenery, interrupted occasionally by the forest disappearing for a moment to allow for views across I-90 again.
Then you’ll reach the bridge over Mill Creek, another bridge not for the faint of heart. Walk high above Mill Creek along the trestle bridge for 0.1 miles to reach the other side of the bridge. At this point, you can continue along the Palouse to Cascades Trail further to extend your hike, or head back the way you came to return to the trailhead.