Mount Spokane's Trail 140 is the only trail route extending from the base of the mountain all the way to the summit. With several access points and multiple connecting trails, there are numerous ways to enjoy a visit to this trail.
The lowest point of Trail 140 connects just behind the privately owned Bear Creek Lodge. For hikers who intend to start their trek here, it's important to know that Bear Creek Lodge charges a parking fee for use of its lot. Be sure to call ahead and make arrangements for parking here; a shuttle service may also be available but must be arranged through the lodge.
This lowest section of Trail 140 follows an access road behind Bear Creek Lodge for a short distance before turning right and heading uphill beneath the powerlines. Frequently referred to as Lower 140, this portion of the trail features several sections of beautiful old growth forest, but also strays onto adjacent private timberland in one area that crosses an old clear-cut. The trail serves as the western boundary for the Burping Brook Natural Forest Area, a special Washington State Parks designation that highlights the unique forest in this area of the park. Large hemlocks and cedars are numerous along this portion of the trail, as well as aspen groves for fall colors. The trail climbs 860 feet in 1.5 miles to join the Hay Ridge Loop, then ascends an additional 130 feet in 0.6 mile on a short doubletrack section before arriving at Smith Gap.
This is a major trail connection featuring a CXT toilet and picnic table. The Snowshoe Warming Hut is located on the south side of Smith Gap up a short hill, and it is at this point that the Hay Ridge Loop, the Lower Mount Kit Carson Loop Road, and Trail 100 all meet.
To continue on Trail 140 from Smith Gap, walk approximately 200 feet west on the Lower Mount Kit Carson Loop Road and watch for the Trail 140 sign on the north side of the trail. This middle section of Trail 140 was rerouted a few years ago to improve the trail grade, and features long sweeping climbs and turns as it continues to ascend the mountain. This portion of the trail crosses a drier ecosystem on the mountain, where lodgepole and ponderosa pines are numerous in the lower areas, and are gradually replaced by white fir and Douglas fir up higher, along with a few western white pine. This portion of the trail climbs approximately 920 feet in 2 miles and comes out at Saddle Junction.
Saddle Junction is another major trail intersection, featuring an outhouse and bench. In addition to Trail 140, this is also the junction of Trail 110 (leading to both the Hairpin Turn parking lot and the Park Entrance trailhead), Trail 130/160 (leading to the summits of Mount Kit Carson and Day Mountain), and the Upper Mount Kit Carson Loop Road. To continue on Trail 140, cross the Upper Mount Kit Carson Loop Road and continue climbing toward Mount Spokane's summit.
The last section of Trail 140 ascends 880 feet in 2.1 miles. This portion of the trail features some of the best huckleberry patches on the mountain. As the trail climbs, the surrounding forest features more subalpine fir and crosses several rocky slopes. At approximately 0.5 mile beyond Saddle Junction, there's a short connector trail leading to the CCC cabin as a lovely site to take a trailside break (with bathrooms available).
Approximately 1 mile from Saddle Junction the trail reaches the alpine ski area boundary and crosses the skis runs beneath chair 6 several times as it ascends the switchbacks. Trail 140 comes out at the Summit Trailhead just below Vista House. The Summit Trailhead is typically open from early to mid-June until early October (as snow conditions allow).
Once at the top, don’t miss the opportunity to venture left and up to visit Vista House, a 1934 historic structure built of native stone, where the upper story was the park’s original fire lookout. To the right, the cell and radio towers look uninviting, but from a vantage just beyond the towers one can view several local lakes from viewing markers installed by a Boy Scout troop. Washington State Parks also recently installed informational kiosks explaining the impacts of the Ice Age Floods on the Spokane Valley, easily viewed from this location on a clear day.
Other things to keep in mind when visiting Trail 140:
- This is a popular multi-use non-motorized trail, where both equestrian and mountain bike use can be expected. Please follow the posted yield etiquette.
- Nearly all of Trail 140 is open to snowshoe use in the winter, with the exception of the portion that crosses into the alpine ski area. Snowshoers who want to visit the summit of Mount Spokane should use the winter-only Snowshoe Summit Route instead. All of Mount Spokane State Parks parking lots require a SnoPark permit from December 1-March 31.
- Vista House is operated as a ski area concession stand on weekends in the winter and some Saturdays in the summer. It is also available for State Parks special event reservations, but makes a lovely picnic spot when not otherwise booked.