Nature June 18, 2017
The Hiking Trail Hiding In Idaho That Will Transport You To Another World
A while back we introduced you to park that, as far as city parks go, has more than a few secrets and surprises hidden up its sleeve. Today, we’re going to take you up close and personal with just one of them: a network of hiking trails that will not only take you into some surprisingly wild and rocky country, but offer glimpses of a raging river up close and personal in a way only Idaho can. Check it out!
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Q'emiln Park (pronounced "Ka-Mee-Lin") in Post Falls, Idaho is a 78.5-acre park featuring a guarded swimming beach, boat launch, BBQ pits, and all of your typical city park essentials...
Q’emiln was name the Coeur d’Alene Indians gave to a village near the present-day site of Post Falls, which means "throat of the river." The village was vacated in 1878.
But what you wouldn't expect to find? Q’emiln is home to a winding, weaving, climbing set of trails that meander in and around the park, and into the surrounding forest.
This set of 12 trails – 4 miles total – takes hikers and explorers into the heart of the trees.
But towering pines aren't the only thing you'll find along the way.
Although small in scale, these overlooked trails range from dry open plateaus to mini canyons rich with the odor of honeysuckle and pine.
Despite being right inside the city, this hiking oasis will make you feel miles away from civilization. Note that the trailhead is marked by a large wood sign at the west side of the parking area as you enter Q’emiln Riverside Park.
And the coursing Spokane River, which rages through the small, rocky canyon and creates a spectacle of foam and mist during the heavy spring months.
The trails are cool, shaded, and - once off the main trailhead – quiet and isolated.
As you explore, you’ll find a small preserve of native vegetation and stunning rock outcroppings that overlook the south channel of the Spokane River.
The water is an especially fantastic sight in spring!
As the water is forced through the narrow canyons, the pressure churns and boils it into a whitewater spectacle that crashes and foams against the rocky walls.
These fantastic rock ledges and geologic formations create a wonderland to explore – caves included!
Idaho is no stranger to rocky, cavernous beauty. But combined with the trees, the sounds of distant water, and beds of spectacular North Idaho vegetation, and you have a truly magnificent escape.
But for those who know about these trails, it isn’t the rocky, canyonesque landscape that they’re drawn to… instead, the sheer, natural rock climbing walls that mark the end of every trail.
We definitely recommend taking a class here! These walls are wonderful for beginners and intermediates alike.
A visit to the South dam is a must, which is spectacularly located within the chiseled canyon. It's quite marvelous in all of its man-made, dystopic glory!
Although the dam is still in regular use, there are times when it stands silent and brooding, looking eerily abandoned. It’s at these moments that you’ll feel like you’ve wandered your way into a post-apocalyptic world. The concrete seems to blend seamlessly into the rock walls - a juxtaposition of man vs. nature that is a dream for photographers to capture!
The hikes are moderate, depending on which section of the system you follow. and there are plenty of opportunities to branch out and explore!
Of course, staying on the main trails ensures a family-friendly, child-safe hike. Stepping off of the path makes this hike more challenging, steep, and uneven. However, In summer when water levels are low, you can wander off the beaten path a bit to make it down to calmer portions of the crystal-clear river. You might even find a secret swimming hole or two! (Just don't tell anyone!)
Best of all? Every fork of the trail leads to a view even more exhilarating than the last.
What do you think? Is this an otherworldly set of trails worth taking? I love how only minutes from the city, Idaho always offers opportunities to return to our wilderness roots!
You get can more information about the
rock climbing walls and trails in Q’emiln Park here.