A hike to Ragged Ridge is an all-day tour of the wide variety of trail experiences that Mount Spokane State Park offers. Begin at Selkirk Lodge, a place that is generally filled past capacity on a sunny weekend during Nordic ski season, but almost always devoid of cars come the warmer months of the year.
Follow any of the Nordic Trails leading out to Nova Hut at Junction 3, passing through second-growth forests on old logging roads that have been converted to one of the state's best Nordic trail systems. Late summer users can expect to find huckleberries and could potentially see resident deer, moose, coyote, or black bear. The trail system here is open to non-motorized multi-use, but is rarely busy.
From Junction 3, hikers should follow the Quartz Mountain Loop Trail (part of the Nordic system, and not the same trail as the one leading to the summit of nearby Quartz Mountain, home of a rentable fire lookout cabin). Approximately 1 mile into the hike along the loop, watch for the sign on the right indicating the way to Ragged Ridge.
The trail drops down to a saddle, entering a Natural Forest Area (NFA) and quickly changing from an ecosystem that has been heavily impacted by human use into a near-wilderness. The NFA and Natural Area Preserve (NAP) beyond it are only open to hikers. Respect the special forest and the plant and animal species it protects by following LNT practices.
The trail descends to a saddle, where a sign indicates the NAP. It then climbs a series of switchbacks along the lower portion of the ridge before coming out on top, where the views are spectacular in all directions. Look back and note the Quartz Mountain Lookout peeking out above the trees on Quartz Mountain; look to the south to see Newman Lake looking close enough to dive into; to the east, see numerous Idaho Lakes.
The trail continues out to the edge of the NAP, where a fence marks a boundary that is slightly on the Idaho side of the border; here is where Mount Spokane State Park crosses state boundaries, even if only a little bit. Turn back here and retrace the route for a round trip hike of 15.1 miles.
** Note that bikes and horses are prohibited in the Natural Area Preserve. Signs indicate where horses and bikes are allowed. **