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Mount Spokane State Park - Mount Kit Carson Trail

Eastern Washington

Location

Eastern Washington -- Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene
View map below

Length

7.5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1500 ft.
Highest Point: 5282 ft.

Rating

4.00 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
 
 

Mount Kit Carson Trail 160 begins at Saddle Junction and climbs a short, steep route to the summit of its namesake peak, second tallest of the main peaks within Mount Spokane State Park. While it may lack the elevation of Mount Spokane, it more than makes up for it with superior views; pack a picnic lunch and take advantage of the outstanding vista.

As dense forest yields to the summit area's open meadows and spectacular old growth trees, one can view Newman Lake and spot Antoine Peak Conservation Area to the southeast. To the south, the Foothills Community shows off its agricultural roots in the early to late summer with checkerboard fields of green pasture grass and alfalfa hay fields interspersed with bright yellow canola fields and golden wheat plantings. To the west lies Chattaroy, with additional farm land broken up by larger patches of timber. To the north, one can see the southern peaks of the Selkirk Range, while to the northeast, Mount Spokane's forested backside and bald pate dominates the view.

From the summit of Mount Kit Carson, Trail 160 continues along the northern flank of the peak, allowing one to extend the hike to the saddle between Mount Kit Carson and Day Mountain where it intersects Trail 130. This is a good option for anyone looking to bag two peaks for the price of one.

Since Trail 160 is only accessed via other park trails rather than having its own trailhead, there are several options available for where to begin one's hike. The shortest option is to begin at the Cook's Cabin trailhead along the summit road. From the trailhead, cross the road and begin the hike along the Upper Mount Kit Carson Loop Road, a former auto route that's now converted to park trail. Consider stopping at the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Cabin to admire the historic site and artistic rock work (interpretative signs will be installed during the summer of 2014). From this trailhead it's one mile to Saddle Junction and the Trail 160 intersection.

Another potential starting point for this hike is the switchback parking lot at the Lower Mount Kit Carson Loop Road. The longer approach via Trail 110 to Saddle Junction allows one to ascend through some of the most spectacular bear grass displays in the park, and offers the potential to find huckleberries beginning in August.

At the top, catch your breath and take in the all-encompassing views. The valleys may be shrouded in their layer of fog, but up here, the sun is generally shining. When the fog is absent, look east to pick out Idaho lakes (Hauser), Washington lakes (Newman), the communities from Coeur d'Alene all the way to the city of Spokane, plus Chattaroy to the northwest and the Selkirk Mountains to the north before returning to Saddle Junction and trail 140.

WTA Pro-Tip: This year-round trail is shared with snowmobile use during the winter, and the summit and meadows area of Mount Kit Carson is a designated off-trail snowmobile "play area." Be aware of this as you travel here in the winter months.

Note: Trail 160 between Saddle Junction and the summit of Mount Kit Carson is scheduled to be rerouted during the summer of 2014. Watch for signs regarding trail work.

 

Mount Spokane State Park - Mount Kit Carson Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.8882, -117.1249 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Eastern Washington -- Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene

Mount Kit Carson (#160)

Washington State Parks

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Spokane Trail Guide 1 Sierra Club

http://mountspokane.org/images/

USGS Mt. Kit Carson Quadrangle

USGS Mt. Spokane Quadrangle

http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/thumbnailAndmaps/7500042.pdf

Getting There

From Spokane, drive north on Highway 2 to Highway 206. Follow Highway 206 for 15 miles to the park entrance. Discover Pass required.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
 

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Mount Spokane State Park - Mount Kit Carson Trail

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