A new week, a new place to explore thanks to our adventurous friends and extended 'family'! Lifepoints Adventure Guides feature some of our favorite ways to be outside and the hidden gems in our backyards - because we know that the best way to see a new place is with the help of a local. A quick hit of the favorite trails, secret spots*, and refueling venues that need to be “must-sees” for your visit.
The weekly tour will wrap with a fun spin on our past Adventure Grants where one lucky winner will get to live out one of the city guides in person!
Let's visit "the Mythical Palouse" as our Picky Team photographer Ben Herndon calls it, whose talents behind the lens (he's not too shabby of an athlete himself) might only be overshadowed by his clever wit and extensive vocabulary. Onward! Follow the man with the camera!
* To protect their identity, we've omitted some our most secret hidden gems.
You'll have to track us down in person for that beta...
Ben Herndon climbing out to get the shot at Northfork Championships
At first glance the Palouse region might seem a bit bleak for most outdoor enthusiasts, with a 400 square-mile sea of rolling farm hills and no prominent peaks (or even wilderness areas) immediately at hand. But that’s what makes it perfectly imperfect. On top of the surreal beauty of the contoured hills themselves, within 3 hours’ drive there is a myriad of peaks and wild rivers and rugged valleys. A bit of road time is a small price to pay for some solitude these days. Bottom line, it sucks so don’t bother.
⭑ Moscow Mountain (Moscow, ID)
Not really a mountain as much as a wide tall hill but it’s got miles of mountain biking/running trails with easements from private landowners and logging companies. Finding map information can be tricky in proper locals-only fashion but if you’re a trooper you’ll figure it out, plus there’s tons of cutoffs and loops. Drop a pin at your car, pack an extra couple Picky Bars and you’ll be fine.
Pro tip: Better yet, join Bike Moscow to get the maps and support trail maintenance.
⭑ Steptoe Butte (Steptoe, WA)
Somewhat absurdly named after a Colonel who almost became Custer before Custer at a nearby 1858 battle between U.S. military forces and a confederacy of fedup area tribes (who likely let the soldiers escape in the night). The butte is one of the only publicly-accessible large upthrusts of land on the Palouse offering spectacular views. The 2 mile road winding to the top also offers road bikers/runners (cross country skiers in winter) some sweet vistas. It’s also a hotspot for paragliding and hangliding.
You need to purchase an annual Washington State Parks Discovery Pass ($30) or a day pass ($10)
Pro tip: early/mid June is prime for a shocking emerald green landscape and late July when the green turns golden.
⭑ Elk Creek Falls (Elk City, ID)
4-ish miles RT/ easy/moderate trail to kickass swim holes. Grab some huckleberry ice cream in nearby Elk City.
⭑ Lochsa/Selway/Clearwater/Salmon/Snake Rivers
Idaho is big on rivers (most whitewater in the lower 48). Fly Fishing, rafting, river surfing, there’s too much goodness to touch on.
⭑ Etsi Bravo (Pullman, WA)
A banger speakeasy with cocktails that will make your uvula quiver.
Pro Tip: As a Picky Bars/pun fan you’ll appreciate the Rye & Gosling (whiskey and ginger beer).
⭑ Humble Burger (Moscow, ID)
When you only make one thing, you do it well.
⭑ The Black Cypress (Pullman, WA)
BC has the best cuisine this side of the Snake River. The lamb is sinful. No really, they kill a small, sweet lamb to get those chops, which is pretty messed up but not enough to outweigh how delicious it is.
⭑ Slice and Biscuit a.k.a. Sli and Biccy (Moscow, ID)
Everydarnday from 2-6 you get a hefty slice of pizza witheach beer purchased. The bacon-wrapped date pizza is what is up. Also the place is super kid friendly if you have little ones.