Hike through Muley Canyon

Rate this Adventure 2 miles 221 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Liz Schroeder

See first-hand the damage caused by last season's wildfires and the regrowth already in process. This area still offers great views of the Spokane River.

Just northwest of Spokane, in Ford, Washington, there is a stretch of road along the Spokane River that has a few Avista parks. These parks are not marked on the roadway and even looking at Avista's website does not give a clear description of their locations. From Spokane, Take 291 W to Charles Road and then turn right onto W Long Lake Drive. You will drive past a lot of private properties for about 3.5 miles. Around this point start paying attention. On your right, you will come across a dirt road that does not have a mailbox or indications of it being a private residence. Turn here, into a small gravel lot, and you will see a sign that says "Muley Canyon". There is no hunting permitted here and a Discover Pass is required. Because the area is in the process of being cleared, I would recommend checking it out on a weekend when workers are not present. There weren't any other people out when I checked this place out, so I was able to let my dogs run off leash without disturbing any other hikers.

The trail starts out nicely, going through forest typical of the Riverside Park area. It's not too far into the forest before that all changes though. This area was hit hard by last season’s wildfires and is in the process of being cleared. There is a lot of logging equipment and open land. As you get closer to the river, there is a section of charred trees that hasn’t yet been cleared. Take a moment to survey the damage here. It is utterly heartbreaking to see what was once a magnificent forest now completely decimated. If you look closely though, you can already see some signs of regrowth.

If you walk past the cleared/burnt area, there is a section of trees along the river that survived the fires. Most of this area overlooks the river, but there is a way to get down to a small (and by small, I mean like maybe 5ft x3ft) section of shore along the river. If you have dogs, this is a good place to let them play in the water for a little while or you could just dip your toes in if you are so inclined. Because this area of shore is so tiny, you probably won't want to spend a lot of time down here. Make your way back up the hill and if you time it right, the afternoon sun shines through the trees beautifully. This is a great place to get some great photographs. While I was there, little white moths were flying everywhere and they looked like fairies dancing in the sun beams. I also noticed a lot of mushrooms were starting to come up. This area will probably be teeming with them pretty soon!

Find a spot by the river or hike back toward the parking lot and find some good trees to set up a hammock. Since there's not a lot of traffic through here, it's a great place to have some lunch, read, and take an afternoon nap. Just make sure you pack out everything you pack in.

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Tags

Chillin
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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