It may seem like this winter is never going to end, but in a few weeks, we will start to experience the first signs of spring. This means that it is almost prime hiking season! Due to this, I have put together the most popular hikes of the Palouse in the hopes that someone will be inspired to go out and explore their environment.
Only a few minutes outside of Pullman, Kamiak Butte is a great hike for anyone looking for a quick walk through the forest. The 1-and-a-half-mile long hike to the peak of Kamiak Butte starts at the Pine Ridge Trailhead and goes through dense forest in a series of switch backs. Once at the top, you will have amazing views of much of the surrounding fields. This hike has been rated somewhere from easy to moderate due to its short but somewhat steep nature. I would recommend that you bring a jacket on your hike, as the top of the butte is super windy. Overall, Kamiak Butte is a great day hike for someone of any ability level and is a great way to spend a few hours out in nature.
Fun Fact about Kamiak Butte: When hiking back down the butte, you may notice a stand of smaller, more densely growing trees. This is the site of a ski run that was used in the 1950’s.
Located outside of Washtucna, about an hour and a half from Pullman, sits Palouse Falls State Park and the hike to Palouse Falls. The hike starts on a forest service road on the far end of the Palouse Falls State Park parking lot. This forest road takes you on the edge of a canyon rim where you’ll be able to see cool geologic structures like Castle Rock as well as Palouse Falls. At about ½ of a mile in, the forest service road will come to an end at some railroad tracks. These railroad tracks are still in use, so I would recommend you walk to the side of the tracks. After a quick walk along these tracks you will come across the trail that brings you down to the canyon floor. Overall, this is a very fun hike and I consider it a must go for anyone at WSU. This hike is not super hard, so anyone of any ability will be able to enjoy it!
Fun Fact about Palouse Falls: There is another trail connected to the Palouse Falls trail that will take you to a bench in the Canyon. Anyone looking for amazing views should take this quick side hike.
Hiking is the perfect pastime for any college student. It costs almost nothing to do and it can help with reducing stress after a long week of school. This eco-friendly activity is also a fun way to exercise while exploring your surroundings. With affordable experiences like the ones listed above just waiting to happen, is there any excuse not to get out and hike the Palouse?
"Day Hiking Eastern Washington" by Rich Landers and Craig Romano
~Written by Kynan Rutan~