Inland NW Trail & Outdoor News: March-April

Welcome to The Trailhead, your source for important information about trails and outdoor recreation around the Inland Northwest!

Free Park Days – Spring 2022

Washington State Parks celebrates Earth Day on April 22 with a fee-free day. The National Parks Service commemorates the first day of National Park Week with a free-entrance day on Saturday, April 16, 2022. Be aware that Washington State Park SnoPark season extends through the end of March, and fee-free days do not extend to SnoPark lots.

New Name & Closures at Palouse Falls

Designated the official state waterfall of Washington in 2014, Palouse Falls has grown in popularity as well as visitor management issues in recent years. Earlier this year, Washington State Parks Commission approved both a land classification change and a new name — Palouse Falls State Park Heritage Site. The Heritage designation recognizes the cultural, historic, and natural significance of the area.

As a result now, the public access area known as Castle Rock and the social trails leading down the cliffs and to the plunge pool are permanently closed. Overnight camping is also no longer permitted. Still allowed is public access to the upper viewing area during the park’s hours of operation.

Photo of Palouse Falls by Shallan Knowles.
Palouse Falls in spring glory. // Photo: Shallan Knowles.

Palouse to Cascades Trail Renovated Bridge Opening Soon

The Beverly Bridge is set to open this spring, creating a safe crossing over the Columbia River for non-motorized trail users on the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail, near Vantage, Wash. The Beverly Bridge dedication will be held Friday, April 8, at 1 p.m. Access the bridge from the Huntzinger Trailhead, with a half mile walk to the ceremony.

The old Beverly Bridge (left) and while undergoing renovation (right). // Photos by Marilyn Hedges, courtesy of Palouse to Cascades Trail Coalition.

Local Trail Projects

Spring trail projects will begin to ramp up in March! Recreation enthusiasts are asked to remember that if your favorite activity is leaving an indentation of 1″ or more in the trail surface, please wait to play until another day. Mud season is very hard on our favorite trails.

  • Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance – Eastern Washington Chapter: Look for a variety of volunteer opportunities in the spring, with Evergreen East focusing spring efforts of local mountain bikers on new trails within Mica Peak Conservation Area, Liberty Lake Conservation Area, and the Mackenzie Natural Area, along with annual maintenance at Beacon Hill.
  • Washington Trails Association: WTA will focus efforts on new trails for Etter Ranch at Antoine Peak and the Dishman Hills Conservancy, along with annual maintenance work at Hauser Conservation Area, Antoine Peak, Iller Creek, Stevens Creek, Liberty Lake, and Fishtrap. Find the WTA calendar of volunteer trail work parties online. The next one is on March 30 at Dishman Hills, in Spokane. WTA hosts volunteer opportunities throughout Washington State, in 11 different regions.
  • Inland Northwest Land Conservancy: INLC hosts trail maintenance days as well tree thinning projects and invasive weed eradication at Waikiki Springs and Rimrock to Riverside. More details about INLC volunteer work online.

Find signup links on the Out There stewardship volunteer calendar    

WTA volunteer trail crew hard at work improving our hiking trails. Photo: Holly Weiler
WTA volunteer trail crew hard at work improving our hiking trails. // Photo: Holly Weiler

Learn About Local Nature With Bioblitz

Join members of the iNaturalist community and have a little friendly science competition by participating in a bioblitz challenge event, April 29 to May 2, 2022.

To join the challenge, download the iNaturalist app if you don’t have it already. Then look up the Northern Rocky Mountain Challenge under “projects.” Then during the weekend of the event, collect observations from one of the participating areas, which includes Boise, Bonner County, and Boundary County in Idaho; Lincoln County and Red Lodge in Montana; and Pend Oreille County in Washington. The area that has the most participants per capita will win the challenge, plus it’s a fun way to explore the flora and fauna of our region.

For folks in Spokane County, you can also participate in a bioblitz with Inland Northwest Land Conservancy at Rimrock to Riverside on April 30 (find details and register online).

Yellowstone Turns 150

Yellowstone National Park commemorates its 150th anniversary this year! Official anniversary date was March 1st. Throughout this year, plans to host in-person and virtual events as well as park projects. A virtual video series is currently available online (free).

Child observing a thermal feature, steam rising from the ground, at Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone National Park has fascinating thermal features // Photo courtesy of Pioneer School.

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