This strenuous hike is close enough to Spokane to make it a mid-week, after work workout; pack your headlamp because the best views are to be had after dark. If you’d rather see it during daylight hours, save it for a weekend: the ski area operates a summit concession stand inside the main floor of the 1934 Vista House. You’ll find the building locked when the concession stand is closed, but on weekend days it’s an inviting place to linger by the fire before the return hike. Start on Trail 131 as it contours through the woods to Bald Knob, the summer-only campground. From here, it’s a straight shot to the summit. Be sure to stay in the trees and outside the ski area boundary. Return via the same route.
Best for: The trail can be hard packed enough for Yak Tracks between snowstorms, but winter storms can deposit deep powder at any time. Open to hikers (snowshoes advised) and backcountry skiers; dog friendly with a leash. A SnoPark permit is required at the trailhead; a day use SnoPark permit requires the addition of a Discover Pass. The park closes at 10p.m.
From Spokane take State Route 206 (the Mount Spokane highway) to the park entrance, then continue three miles to the parking area along the main road near the summer Summit Road and SnoPark lot. Get a free printable map from www.mountspokane.org before you go.