Mt. Spokane Summit SnowshoeFebruary 19th, 2022
I was surprised when I found out that the hike to the summit is shorter (or about the same distance) as the hike to the CCC Cabin on Mount Spokane.
It was easier to wrap my head around when I read that the winter hiking route to the summit is a straight line from Bald Knob campground to the radio towers at the summit. Walking straight up the mountain is definitely going to be shorter than traversing many switchbacks.
Next, I read a comment on the Snowshoe Mount Spokane Facebook page about someone that summited the mountain in microspikes. Given the lack of snow and cold weather we have experienced, I thought that sounded perfect!
Therefore, on a sunny and not particularly cold morning in early February, we hiked to the summit and it was a great time!
We got to the trailhead early with only a few cars there before ours. However, this parking lot is so big that parking has never looked like an issue.
Mount Spokane had been hard-pressed for new snow in the past couple of weeks, so most of the trails on the mountain were packed down. We were able to get by with micro-spikes and YakTrax (coils) but it's definitely preferred to use micro-spikes. Especially, with the steepness of the slope up to the summit.
The trail starts across the street from the parking lot. The going was really smooth. The air was cold, the sun was coming up, the trail was mostly empty, and there were blue diamonds/blue arrows that helped guide us on the trail.
We had hiked here before, so we were familiar with the trail. However, it may be confusing, considering the extensive trail system at Mount Spokane and the tracks of others that wandered off the trail.
Always helped to carry a map, GPS map, or be familiar with the trail numbers in the area.
We arrived at Bald Knob Campground after half an hour. On a clear day, the route to the summit is easy to see. The description for the summit route is:
Hike to the Bald Knob Picnic Shelter (#4), and then site a straight path between the campground restroom building and the main TV tower on the summit.
Below is a picture from the shelter.
This area has many holes where previous hikers had post-holed. We navigated the popular area easily, but we did have to be somewhat careful.
After we started the "straight line" to the summit there were—unsurprisingly—many boot paths making their way uphill. We made a couple of stops to catch our breath and take in the view. The average slope on our ascent was ~7%.
We did our best to follow the more defined boot paths while keeping our eyes on the summit and staying outside the ski boundary.
We were pleased the reach the summit after only an hour on the trail. It was around 1,500 ft. of positive elevation over 1.8 miles.
It was around 9:00 a.m. so the ski lifts had just started running. However, the only skiers we saw were the ones that used skins to travel up the ski boundary arriving at the summit a few minutes before we did.
We entered the ski area through a path in the fence that is easily seen from where we summited by the radio towers.
Wanting to make our way to the Vista House, we weaved in between a few skiers at the top and walked toward the stone Vista House.
Unfortunately, we arrived at the Vista House before it was open! The employee arrived around 9:30 a.m. so we were able to walk around inside, but he doesn't start selling refreshments until 10:00 a.m.
That was alright, we were fine with sitting in the sun and checking out the grand views from the top.
We left the summit around 9:40 a.m. We took the same route we came up, more or less, trying not to veer off too far away from the ski boundary (a good reference point).
On the way down the trail was crowded with snowshoers, bikers, and skiers. Our early start was well worth it. Hiking time was just over two hours with an extended stop at the top. Overall a really good day out on the mountain.