Best Hikes with Dogs Inland Northwest  by Craig Romano & Alan L. Bauer

Best Hikes with Dogs: Inland Northwest Guide Book

by Craig Romano & Alan L. Bauer (The Mountaineers Books)
Best Hikes with Dogs Inland Northwest  by Craig Romano & Alan L. Bauer
More than a dozen dogs, big and small, were enlisted to select the best trails for optimum canine enjoyment in the Inland Northwest. They chose many lesser-known trails free of crowds, horses, bicycles, or motorized vehicles. These trails offer shade and lakes or streams for your canine companion to play in and keep cool. Regions covered include the Selkirks, Blue Mountains, Columbia Plateau, the Palouse, the Cabinet Mountains of Montana, plus the Idaho Panhandle, Canadian Okanagan Highlands, and B.C. Kootenay.

© 2005 Craig Romano and Alan L Bauer/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Hikes with Dogs: Inland Northwest" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 75.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 75.

One foot! Just 1 lousy foot is all that keeps this lofty peak from being eastern Washington’s highest summit. That honor goes to nearby Gypsy Peak. Still, this summit is impressive—the views are grand, the meadows resplendent! And Abercrombie is a lot easier to get to than Gypsy. So although this peak is 1 foot shy of being eastern Washington’s number one summit, it’s still a great feat to tackle, by two feet or four. The hike to the 7308-foot summit is short, but steep in sections. Except for a few rocky places near the top, the tread is good. For the first mile water is readily available, but beyond that it’s a pretty dry hike. Hike this on a cool day, especially when the skies are clear. The view from this summit is extensive, from the Cascades to the Selkirks, the Monashees to the Purcells, the Pend Oreille River to the Columbia, and the Kootenay Valley all the way to the Columbia Plateau.
Colville, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.5
This is a straightforward hike to one of the loneliest summits on the Kettle Crest. It also offers one of the easiest approaches to the lofty Kettle high country. The Barnaby Buttes Trail utilizes an old fire tower service road, which is now a wide, gentle trail. The trail begins by a tumbling little creek (4500 ft.) and traverses a lush forest of pine and larch. Ample shade along the way will keep you and your pooch from overheating. Your buddy will probably pick up the scents of resident bruins: bear scat, tracks, and scratches are abundant along this trail. Keep your intrepid pup close.
Republic, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.5
Lying just a few miles outside of the pastoral Pend Oreille River valley, large and mostly undeveloped, Bead Lake is a pleasant surprise. It is surrounded by groves of old growth, it has no visible outlet, and its shoreline is graced with a beautifully constructed hiking trail. Furthermore, this pleasant trail rarely sees large numbers of users, unlike the Sullivan Lake Trail to the north.
Newport, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
What hiking dog wouldn’t be interested in a trail called Big Lick? But before you get your best buddy all worked up, this trail isn’t lined with kibble or last night’s leftovers. Neither are there legions of sweaty hikers to greet. What’s to lick then? Just miles of Kettle Mountain wilderness morsels and your face, of course, upon completing a great day’s hike. The Big Lick offers some of the best wildlife habitat in the Kettles. Your dog’s nose will be in high gear sniffing out all of the creatures that have scurried before him on this quiet trail. Bear, deer, moose, cougars, martens, grouse, and coyotes all have left behind plenty of tracks, scents, and scat. What’s missing are the two-legged creatures. The Big Lick sees very few hikers.
Republic, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
If the Ten Lakes Scenic Area were any more accessible it would certainly be overrun by visitors. Fortunately they’re tucked in a quiet corner of ntana, far away from any major communities. It’s a trek getting here, so why not spend the weekend? Consider car camping at Big or Little Therriault Lakes—then it’s just a roll out of your sleeping bag to all of this splendid backcountry.
Eureka, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
You and your dog will love exploring it, but only if you visit during the spring. Summer is just too hot. Fall is hunting season and winter is breeding season. Ticks can be a problem come May. Rattlesnakes rarely venture out in the cold and they’re quite elusive the rest of the year. Nevertheless, don’t let Rover go sniffing around in the basaltic talus slopes. Most importantly, the refuge was established for protecting wildlife; therefore, you and ol’ Scratch should be on your best behavior.
Moses Lake, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
Here’s a short, sweet hike to a gem of a lake that doesn’t get too busy. Little Bramlet Lake sits in a forested bowl just inside the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. The trail to it, however, is outside of the wilderness. Once an old mining road, Trail 658 has reverted to trail. But the mining claims in the area are still active and this may complicate access to the area in the future. Be sure to check with the ranger station before venturing this way; there is a possibility that the trailhead may be moved.
Libby, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
The proposed Cube Iron-Silcox Wilderness area of the southern Cabinet Mountains offers miles of great backcountry romps into a lightly traveled region. Lofty summits, alpine meadows and lakes, and a good trail system characterize this roadless area just north of Thompson Falls. Hikers and their dogs will find a number of trails and destinations to their liking. Cabin Lake stands out as one of the supreme choices in this de facto wilderness. The hike to Cabin Lake, one of the largest bodies of water within the Cube Iron-Silcox, is pretty straightforward. From the trailhead take Trail 459 right across a sturdy bridge.
Thompson Falls, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
The 13-mile Pend Oreille Divide Trail offers some of the finest ridgeline walking within the entire Cabinet Range. Undulating between 5000 and 6700 feet, this skyline trail traverses sprawling alpine meadows, skirts lonely windblown summits, and provides almost nonstop views of the Selkirk Crest, massive Lake Pend Oreille, and the craggy Montana Cabinets. Unfortunately, the divide is as dry as a dog bone (sans saliva), making it a most difficult trek for both two- and four-legged adventurers.
Sandpoint , ID - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.5
When the Columbia River valley begins to swelter in the summer sun, hordes of relief seekers from nearby Trail and Castlegar head to the 3000- acre Champion Lakes Provincial Park. Can you blame them? At an elevation of 2000 feet above the valley, a cool forest of pine and fir envelop three pretty and peaceful lakes. Most visitors come here to swim or fish; a few canoe and a few stay the night in the ninety-five-site campground; only a handful take to the trails, which means that you and your dog will have plenty of room to roam.
Trail, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
A bird-watcher’s paradise, the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is also a nice place for bird dogs. It’s also good for dogs not bred for hunting, because the Turnbull is closed to sportsmen, making it an ideal year-round hiking destination. Spring is the best time, with agreeable temperatures, scores of breeding birds, and meadows streaked with flowers. There is a downside to alla primavera though: mosquitoes and ticks can be real buggers. Time your visit accordingly.
Spokane, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
This is a short, sweet hike to two of the many little lakes that dot the high plateau separating the Kettle and West Kettle Rivers. This is a region that calls out to be explored by you and your poochie. Consider setting up camp at Sego Creek (be sure to get a camping permit, available at any forest district office), a lovely spot in its own right.
Kelowna, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
The Marcus Trail should provide you and your pup with a lonely trek into the heart of the Kettles. The view alone from Copper Butte is worth the journey. The entire Kettle Range can be observed from the old lookout site. BC’s Rossland Range, Idaho’s Selkirks and western Washington’s Cascades can all be seen from this prominent peak. But it is the miles of alpine meadows on the way to the summit that really make this a supreme hike, one of my all-time favorites in the entire Inland Northwest.
Republic, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.5
The hike to Crystal Lake is short but steep—in elevation and in history. It’s not a terribly difficult hike, just a bit of a grunt for short-winded dogs and their owners. At least the trail, which utilizes an old mining road for most of the way, is shaded, and there’s no shortage of water. Crystal’sdeep waters invite a swim, and its rocky shoreline is a great place to soak up the sun. A former mining town site will interest two-legged visitors,while hounds will enjoy sniffing out the faunal past.
Saint Regis, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
Rising above the Spokane Valley and neighboring Rathdrum Prairie, 5883- foot Mount Spokane is a prominent local landmark. A southern outpost of the Selkirk Mountains, it’s also a local favorite spot for outdoor recreation, particularly for skiers and mountain bikers. There’s plenty of room for hikers and their dogs, too, in this 13,800-acre park. The trip to Day Mountain, a shoulder of Mount Spokane, makes for an excellent hike. With a trailhead that begins at 5000 feet and a destination just slightly higher, the elevation gain on this trip is minimal. Day Mountain is one of the quieter peaks in the park, and chances are you’ll encounter only a handful of other trail users. And although the views from this summit are not quite as good as those from nearby Mount Kit Carson, Day’s meadows are grander.
Spokane, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6
The Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge is a great destination for wellbehaved and inquisitive dogs. The 2774-acre reserve was established in 1965 to protect habitat for migratory waterfowl. Over 200 species of birds nest or pass through the refuge annually, including teals, grebes, harriers, snipes, terns, vireos, and meadowlarks. The refuge consists primarily of wetlands, meadows, and riparian forests, at the base of the Selkirk Mountains on the Kootenai River. It’s a great place for an early-season hike or a lazy summer-afternoon saunter.
Sandpoint , ID - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.4
Are you looking for a quiet alternative to Cabin Lake? An alpine lake that you and your dog can enjoy all by yourselves? A place where you might actually be able to catch a fish, without worrying that your dog may scare them all away? Deer Lake might be what you have in mind. However, this lake is not attained without expending an incredible amount of energy. Although it’s only a 3.5-mile hike, there are 2600 feet of elevation gain and most of them are between mile one and two, the dreaded “middle mile.” So, if you and your buddy are in top-dog shape, go for it. There’s a great little lake waiting, one that only a handful of rugged hikers and hounds have ever seen.
Thompson Falls, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
Big, beautiful Christina Lake—you won’t get tired of looking at it. And with some of the warmest waters in all of Canada, your buddy won’t get tired of playing in it. Cottages line the southern third of the 6500-acre lake, but the northern two-thirds is protected within the ecologically important Gladstone Provincial Park. Recently expanded in 2004, the park now contains over 97,000 acres of some of the best grizzly habitat remaining within the southern interior of the province. It’s highly unlikely that you and your dog will encounter a grizzly, but black bears are quite common. Be sure that ol’ Spot stays by your side.
Castlegar, BC - Hiking - Trail Length: 14
The Bitterroot Divide between Idaho and Montana contains scores of beautiful backcountry lakes. Two of the most accessible are Diamond and Cliff. No surprise, then, that these two lakes see a fair amount of visitors. But this is western Montana, not western Washington, so “crowded” is still an unknown word here. On a Fourth of July hike to these gems, I shared the trail and the shoreline with only six other parties and four other dogs!
Saint Regis, MT - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
There’s nothing disappointing about Disappointment Peak. This fairly easy hike is a great introduction to the wild and lonely Loomis State Forest, one of Washington’s least known public lands. A few years back, much of the Loomis nearly succumbed to the chain saw. But, thanks to a wellfunded and well-publicized campaign by a coalition of conservationists lead by the Northwest Ecosystem Alliance (NWEA), 25,000 acres of the Loomis State Forest has been reclassified as a Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA). All of this—sorry dogs—thanks to a cat! The high-elevation forests of the Loomis contain some of the best lynx habitat left in the Lower 48. The lynx is an elusive feline, so visiting dogs need not worry about being unwelcome.
Tonasket, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5