Hike Around Hog Lake
Washington › Hog Lake
Added by Liz Schroeder
This hike, within an hour's drive of Spokane, Washington, provides great views, cliffs, a lake, a waterfall, wildflowers, and excellent bird watching.
Leaving Spokane and driving west down Interstate 90 isn’t usually where one might envision pretty nature existing. Yes, the farms and desert are pretty in their own way, but most people don’t want to go hiking on a farm. This area has some real hidden treasures though.
To get to Hog Lake from Spokane, drive west on Interstate 90 and take exit 254 for Fishtrap/Sprague Highway and turn left. Less than a mile from I-90, turn left onto the first gravel road, which is across from a sign that reads, “Lake Valley Loop”. If the gate is closed, park here and you’ve got a 1.2 mile hike to the trailhead. If the gate is open, you can drive up the gravel road right to the trailhead parking lot.
This area is gated in some places, which is probably due to the fact that there are several farms surrounding it. It’s a big area though, so you won’t feel “fenced in” by any means. If you are hiking with dogs and lucky enough to have the trails to yourself, just past the first gate is a good time to let your dogs off-leash.
The trail starts off in a beautiful forest that almost seems out of place given the surrounding farms. As you walk, listen to the variety of bird calls that fill the air. If you fancy yourself a bird-watcher, get out your binoculars and have a field day. This area is teeming with a wide variety of song birds. Follow the well-marked trail, and less than half a mile in, you will encounter a beautiful waterfall. Leave the trail (don’t worry, you won’t get lost) and carefully make your way down the rocky hill leading to the falls. There is a small creek that runs along here, so if you don’t like wet feet, water-proof hiking shoes would be a good idea. Make your way along the rocks to the waterfall, which appears to magically emerge from the cliffs above. The waterfall itself is kind of fenced off with some wire and a sign instructing you not to go past the fence. It’s clear from the condition of the fence that not everyone obeys the sign. It appeared as if the rocks around the falls would be easy enough to climb as there appeared to be plenty of nice hand-holds in the rocks. I saw that from behind the fence, of course. From this area, you have great views of the falls, Hog Lake, and the surrounding hills and cliffs. This is a great place to take some scenic pictures. If you’re lucky, you might see some water birds enjoying the lake and while hawks circle above.
After hanging out by the falls/lake for a while, make your way back up to the main trail. The 1.3 mile loop trail goes along cliffs that overlook the lake. This area is less forest-y and more rolling hills and cliffs. If you’re hiking in the Spring, you will be amazed at the expanses of beautiful wildflowers. Across the lake, you will see even more beautiful pine forest. If you have daredevil dogs like I do (or kids for that matter), you may want to put a little distance between yourselves and the edge of the cliffs. The actual trail is a safe distance from the cliffs, but people walking along the cliffs have worn a secondary trail along them. Follow the trail of your choice and enjoy the beauty all around you. Don’t be afraid to detour from the trail to climb up some cool rocks/hills along the way. The area is open enough to the point that you won’t have trouble finding the path. Since a lot of this hike is not shaded, be sure to pack plenty of water and protect yourself from the sun.
Highlights of this hike include: wildflowers, lots of birds, beautiful overlooks, a WATERFALL, lots of green rolling hills, and it’s not too crowded…in the morning. More people (lots of families with kids) tend to show up as the day gets later, so keep that in mind if that’s an issue for you. I also noted a fire pit near the falls and did not see any signs restricting camping, so feel free to add camping to this adventure. I would recommend this as a spring hike, as the waterfall and wildflowers will likely be gone once the weather gets warmer.
- Hiking shoes
- Binoculars (for bird watching)
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