For a casual winter hike that features wooded singletrack and open spaces with a view and stays close to the city, look no farther than the area known as the High Drive Bluff off of Spokane’s South Hill.
What makes this a great winter hike is its flexibility in trail distance and access to afternoon winter sun, which thaws these trails a bit more than spots like Riverside State Park that stay shaded most of the winter.
The Bluff has over 20 miles of trails that are great for winter hiking, mountain biking, and dog walking, as long as the trails are not icy, muddy, or in a freeze-thaw cycle that will damage the trail tread.
Choose any direction and you’ll find singletrack that rises and falls, snakes around pine-cluttered turns, and runs straight and long on open faces of the Bluff. It’s a great place to catch the winter skyline or an early sunset, watching as the colors fade into the silhouettes of our Northwest pines.
Spokane’s High Drive Bluff: (top left) Sunset view from the top of High Drive Bluff. // Photo: Julie Pomerantz; (top right) View from upper bluff looking south over the Latah Valley. // Photo: Amy McCaffree ; (upper right) Runners along High Drive // Photo: Erik K.; (bottom) Snowfall doesn’t often linger on the trails. // Photo: Aaron Theisen