LIBERTY LOOP TRAIL

"Liberty Lake Loop" Liberty Lake, ID
"Liberty Lake Loop" Liberty Lake, ID"Liberty Lake Loop" Liberty Lake, ID
"Liberty Lake Loop" Liberty Lake, ID
"Liberty Lake Loop" Liberty Lake, ID
As previously mentioned, one of my big three requirements when traveling is a good hike. This year I've taken a really liking to hiking, and have made a point of going on at least one in whichever city I am visiting. I had a relatively hard time trying to find a moderate hike in the Spokane area. I wanted a half-day hike, and most of what I found were short hikes with little to no elevation. More like a walk, really. Blame it on my lack of knowledge about geography, but I wasn't sure what kind of terrain I'd encounter in Spokane. Turns out it's less mountainous and more hilly, so that's that.

I stumbled upon Liberty Lake Loop, which seemed to be my best option. The hike is 8.9 miles with 1,251 feet of elevation. It is located in Liberty Lake Regional Park, which is roughly a thirty minute drive out of Post Falls. Entry to the park is $2 a head, and there is also a campground. The is a parking area followed by a short walk down to the campground. The trailhead isn't very well marked, and we ended up having to ask for directions. The trail seemed way too easy for the first mile or so. There was little elevation, and I wondered out loud it this was going to be a shoot-you-up-the-mountain type hike. It most certainly was! Shortly after, we reached an area that was marked as being eroded and not suitable for walking. After checking some trail websites, the sign seems to be meant to keep day walkers out and hikers in. The next couple of miles were a series of very steep switchbacks uphill to the waterfalls. There is a viewing area once you're halfway up. I didn't realize that it was the only viewpoint on the trail, so we didn't bother to take photos. My bad! It didn't look nearly as spectacular as some of the photos online made it out to be. Nice, but the air was thick that day. We trucked on uphill and came across the waterfalls. Again, I think it was a case of timing, because they were more stream like than a fall. Online reviews note that spring is the best time to see the falls, likely due to winter run-off. Nevertheless, while they weren't exactly spectacular, the falls were still a sight. The main highlight was the cedar forest. Once you've reached the top, the trail evens out for a while until you reach a series of signs. One leads up to a Scouts cabin, another back to parking, and another reading More Hiking. We figured that was it for the loop, so we followed the parking sign. There are no switchbacks on the way down, so we found ourselves jogging most of the way. Once we reached the bottom, we discovered that we ended up on the Equestrian Route, so I'm not entirely sure if we actually did the entire hike. Other websites agree that yes, we did. The More Hiking route would have added another four miles on to the hike for a total of 11 miles.

We left the rest of our crew to their own devices for the day, which turned out to be a good idea. While it wasn't an incredibly challenging hike, the switchbacks were quite trying at times, and it takes at least an in shape individual to do the hike without complaint. Pros of the hike were the falls and difficulty. Cons were the lack of viewpoints and the HEAT, which I suppose was our own fault for starting late in the morning and wearing too much clothing.

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