Warm weather and longer days make summer a favorite time to run for most people, but I love fall running. Fall colors bring out the best of mother nature in my opinion. I love fall because the days still heat up, but the cool, crisp mornings and changing colors are beautiful. Running on trails in the fall does bring additional considerations, though, because in most areas fall is hunting season. If you are out running on trails, please wear bright colored clothing and be careful. Here are some trails that I enjoy the most during this season.
Ragged Mountain at Mount Spokane. This trail is approximately 15 miles round trip and can be a little overgrown with very few visitors. The trail has rock outcroppings, open meadows and spectacular views. It’s a perfect run if you want to enjoy the golds and reds of fall. This would be considered a difficult route. Checkout Washington Trail Association for more information at Wta.org. A Discover Pass is required.
Empire Trails, Spirit Lake, Idaho: These hand-built trails overlooking Spirit Lake were originally designed for mountain bike use but also make great running trails. These trails are tight, winding singletrack with handmade bridges and excellent views for appreciating beautiful fall colors. For a short drive you get multiple choices for distance from 1 to 5 miles, with easy to moderate trails. For more information check out Spiritlakechamber.com/empire-trails. These trails are on Inland Paper property and you do need a permit that costs $2.50 daily and is available at the trailhead.
Painted Rocks: This trail has a bit of everything, fall colors, beautiful views, rock outcroppings, and a great location close to Spokane. Painted Rocks is an approximate 6-mile loop and is rated as moderate. For more information go to: Trailrunproject.com/trail/7011234. Discover Pass is required.
Of course, there are other great trails in the area, but many of them will take you close to active hunting areas. I would consider the above trails to be a bit safer than others since they are away from hunting traffic. What are you waiting for? #Werunthesetrails. //
Spokane Area Fall Trail Races
Trail Maniacs State Park Series #4 (September 9)
The Trail Maniac’s fourth State Park Series race, which includes 10k, 25k, and 50k distances, takes place on the vast singletrack trail network that winds through Riverside State Park. Great prizes, exceptionally beautiful trails, camping at the Bowl & Pitcher campground (with showers), and the opportunity to share the joys of trail running with other friendly runners are some of the highlights. More info at Trailmaniacs.com.
Sekani Trail Run (October 1)
The 9th annual trail run is a 5k/10k event (plus a free kids’ 1k) that takes place at Spokane’s Camp Sekani Park. Run, walk, or seriously race on beautiful, all-dirt trails above the Spokane River with a challenging course with 700 feet of elevation gain for the 10k run and great views of the city. Proceeds from the event benefit Franklin Elementary school’s APPLE program. More info at Sekanitrailrun.com.
Wild Moose Chase (October 7)
Eastern Washington University’s class of 2019 Doctor of Physical Therapy students are putting on the 7th Wild Moose Chase trail run as a fundraiser during one of the best times of the year up on Mt. Spokane. The three courses start from Selkirk lodge and include 5k and 10k courses that follow the Nordic trails and a 25k course that uses a mixture of double and singletrack trails. Don’t miss this chance to escape into the fresh, fall mountain air. More info at facebook.com/wildmoosechasetrailrun. // (Dave Dutro)
Dave Dutro is an American Trail Running Association Trail Ambassador and local Trail Maniac.