Hawk Creek is gaining popularity among hikers, mainly as an early spring, snow-free option that generally boasts spring flowers and scenic views. Even so, every time I hike it I notice the majority of the cars in the parking lot belong to fisherman. I gave the fishing a shot on my last visit and got skunked as usual, which illustrates the reason why I like fishing spots with easy access to hiking trails.
From the parking lot by the fisherman’s kiosk, follow the sandy trail leading out to Lake Roosevelt. For the easiest hiking, it is possible to stay along the shoreline for nearly a mile, until the sandy beach ends in a jumble of rockier shoreline and a good turn around point at the end of the harbor. This route has very little elevation gain but still has nice views and the potential to see wildlife. Bring binoculars for bird watching. This is the preferred route for hikers with dogs.
For a more difficult hike, watch for the user trail leading up the steep side slope and out toward a high overlook. Hikers who attempt this should be comfortable with some route finding, as the trail is unofficial and unmarked and frequently intersected by game trails. Watch for and avoid the patches of low-growing cacti on the hillside. The faint trail leads to a shallow cave perched high on the hillside above Hawk Creek Harbor. Proceed with caution if you venture inside, as the cave shelters a small poison ivy garden. It’s best to leave pets at home if planning to attempt the hike to the cave.
A highlight of any visit to Hawk Creek is the waterfall, which can be spectacular during spring high flow. Get there by hiking in the opposite direction of the fisherman’s path and through the adjacent Hawk Creek campground. The waterfall is located at the far end of the campground, where a short trail leads to an excellent viewpoint. The campground is open year-round, and winter rates (October 1-April 30) are only $9/night. That makes Hawk Creek an ideal base camp for additional exploration nearby.
Distance: Up to 4.5 miles round-trip
Getting There: From downtown Spokane, travel west on Highway 2 to the outskirts of Davenport, then turn north on Highway 25. In 6.6 miles, turn west on Larene Road, then proceed .6 miles to Indian Creek Road. Proceed north on Indian Creek Road 8.7 miles to where it intersects Hawk Creek Road, then continue north on Hawk Creek Road until it ends at the trailhead in 1.7 miles. //
Holly Weiler is a hiker, backpacker, trail runner, and skier. She wrote about winter cabin trips in the January issue.
Originally published in the March 2017 print edition of Out There Outdoors under the title “Hawk Creek (Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area).”
Feature photo: Treats along the trail. // Photo: Holly Weiler