Moscow Mountain offers trails for all abilities
While the Palouse is known for its gently rolling waves of wheat fields, Moscow has been blessed with the close proximity of Moscow Mountain and its trails.
Just a short drive from town, the mountain is home to a network of trails perfect for hiking, running and mountain biking in the summer, as well as snow-shoeing, cross country skiing and fat biking in the winter. The trails offer something for everyone, ranging from the beginner-level paths, which are basically dirt sidewalks, to steep loamy downhill race trails.
For rookies, Idler‘s Rest is an easy way to get out and enjoy the mountain. Its cedars, ferns and streams make for a lush and relaxing atmosphere, and its trails are short and well-marked. Don’t come here looking for scenic views and rocky vistas, but its amount of wildlife makes it a definite must-see.
Headwaters is a great starter for intermediate hikers and mountain bikers. It‘s a solid loop with plenty of elevation changes and a pleasant winding single-track that crosses a creek several times and winds through some beautiful forest. Just make sure to park in the parking area and not in front of the gate.
Over in the Four Corners area of the mountain, mountain biking trails wind and intersect through the ridges and valleys. Jump Trail is a great way to get beginners hooked on mountain biking. It‘s wide and flowy, which is perfect for a first off-road experience. A little higher up, Nemesis is a steeper, intermediate trail that winds tight switchbacks down through a few creek crossings and between some rock slabs before pulling back up to the road.
From the bottom of Jump Trail, Cabin Trail runs fast and smooth down to the road. A little bellow the top of Jump Trail riders can hop on to Cave trail or to one of the several other loops that wind for miles through dense forests and clear-cuts, just be prepared to be marginally lost and slightly confused.
For more gravity oriented riders, Moscow Mountain is home to a pair of experts-only downhill trails. Somalia is a fast tight and loamy downhill race trail. While it has a few drops and jumps, this is really a trail for those who want to get loose on some tight single-track. Make sure to wear a full face helmet, and some body armor is never a bad idea.
Running from midway down Jump Trail and intersection Somalia, Sentinal is a free ride trail straight out of the movies. It‘s littered with jumps, drops and berms, all groomed to perfection and waiting to be styled out. Regardless of a visitor’s trail choice, beware of downed trees. Early in the season, the trails are still in winter conditions and will need to be cleaned up to be completely safe to ride on.
Moscow Mountain has a trail for everyone. From mellow hiking to gnarly downhill single-track, the mountain offers a perfect destination for some weekend hiking or riding and is a great respite from our endless rolling hills.
Cy Whitling can be reached at email@example.com