Hike of The Month: McKenzie Conservation Area (Newman Lake, Wash.)

The McKenzie Conservation Area east of Spokane features old logging roads that volunteers transformed into hiking trails. Hike the outer loop by heading uphill from the parking area. The trail hugs the property boundary, crossing through a forest that is recovering nicely from past logging operations. The trail climbs gently, passing the intersection for the inner loop trail after approximately one mile. Stay right for the outer loop, and eventually the trail climbs to a vantage point above the lake.

From this highpoint, the trail drops down to the lake – turn left and continue downhill for the loop, or opt for an extension by taking the out-and-back to the right (with views of a meadow and a tribute marker for Alfred Bailey McKenzie, the former owner). Don’t miss the native plant garden at the lakeshore, then complete the loop on the old roadbed that leads from the lakeshore back to the parking lot. Watch for the sign indicating the location of an eagle nest near shore as you make your way up the hill. More info on the McKenzie Conservation Area here: spokanecounty.org/parks/content.aspx?c=1890.

Open to hiking and equestrian use. Dog-friendly; leash required.

Getting there: Take I-90 east from Spokane to the Sullivan exit. Go north on Sullivan to Trent, then east on Trent to Starr Road. Take Starr north toward Newman Lake, turning right at the “Y” on Hauser Lake Road. Watch for Muzzy Road and turn left (north). Muzzy Road becomes West Newman Lake Road; the parking area is on the left-hand side. No parking permit required.

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