Pattie Discovers the PNW: Looking for hiking near Spokane? Q’emilin Park Trail System, Post Falls, Idaho is a must see

by Patricia Elwing

Hello Friends in the PNW, 

It’s Spring 2022 and I am ready to get out in nature and get hiking!  I love to discover new places and I appreciate recommendations.  Here’s one I’ll share…

Eager to get started this year, we tentatively planned a hike at Mt. Spokane, if the weather and conditions were agreeable by March 26th.   However, when one of our first beautiful sunny days showed up, we decided to enjoy it to its fullest closer to home, but just over in Idaho.  Our friends, Traci & Sean took us to the Q’emiln Park Trail System.  Pronounced “Ka Mee Lin.”  I had seen the park area briefly in 2020, but was excited to find the treasure of Post Falls Community Forest and Q’emilin Climbing walls.  

There are 13 trails on this 500 acre multi-use natural area.  We began our adventure at a small overlook along the Spokane River, a great stop for photo ops, were we immediately connected to nature with the power of the rushing river, clean air and rock formations.  There is approximately 2 miles of Spokane River frontage, hiking, mountain biking trails, native trees and shrubs, wildlife and amazing granite cliffs and rock outcroppings.  

Post Falls
photo by Patricia Elwing

“The Post Falls Community Forest is the result of a collaboration that began in 1986.  The process has included the Bureau of Land Management, Avista Utilities, the Post Falls Parks Department, the Post Falls Water Reclamation Division, and the multiple neighboring property owners.  Each participant has provided land, funding, guidance, or assistance in order to create this public amenity.  The site came into existence (as you see it today) when the final parcel was purchased in 2017.  The Post Falls Community Forest provides abundant outdoor recreational and educational opportunities.  In the future, it will also provide the means to reuse treated wastewater for the benefit of this natural ecosystem.” ~ Post Falls Community Forest brochure

Q’emilin Park is located south of the Spokane River at the end of the Spokane Street Bridge in Post Falls, Idaho.  In addition to the scenic views, hiking trails and rock climbing, the park area offers several amenities, including:  boat launch, beach, picnic areas (covered) with tables and BBQ Grills, playground, horse shoes, guarded swimming area and seasonal concessions.  It is also a great put-in for SUP and kayaking.   I look forward to paddle boarding there soon. 

While hiking, in the Post Falls Community Forest, we moved through a couple steep rocky, narrow areas.  However, in my opinion, the rocks were inviting and appeared as though they were naturally positioned steps placed for a challenging but accessible assent.  (Note: Some areas may be difficult for small children to hike, and older dogs.)  Sean’s 10 month old dog, Foster, did really well and was a great leader of our pack.  We wandered all over the community forest, taking in the beauty of the surrounding rocks, trees and river.  We passed a few hikers with dogs and kids, as well as some rock climbers whose lead was setting the climb for belayers down below waiting to make their ascent.  Fun to stop and watch for a moment.  Hmmm…maybe I’ll try it in a gym first.  Everyone in the forest was out enjoying the day and our group logged close to 4 miles.  

Take a snack and stop near the river for a view.  There are plenty of flat rocks to sit on.  (As always, please observe the LEAVE NO TRACE practice.  Pack it in and pack it out.)  Also, I recommend using the bathrooms located in the parking lot before starting your hike to preserve the land and keep our nature free of tissues.  

Surrounding area…

There are nearby eateries and public houses on your way back towards Hwy. 90 on Spokane Street.  We enjoyed a well-deserved “linner” (meal between lunch and dinner time) at the Sawmill Grille & Spirits.  Loved the sweet potato tots and recommend the shrimp tacos and chicken quesadillas.   They have an interesting list of specialty cocktails to entice you and the atmosphere is pretty upbeat.   It was a full house of patrons and the music and staff have a fun vibe.  We enjoyed our upstairs seating, which has a balcony available in even warmer weather.  I look forward to including a meal at the beloved White House Grill on another trip!

As we left the restaurant Sean mentioned that “Treaty Rock” was located just across the highway and so we stopped for a quick look there to see the prominent rock were an inscription can still be seen “Fredrick Post June 1, 1871” along with some petroglyphs and pictographs. The inscriptions and pictures are fading, so be sure to stop for look while you’re in the area.  

To sum it up…

You may be familiar with this area, and if so, you’ll understand why I recommend Post Falls Community Forest for an easily accessible adventure into nature.  

Cheers to nature and the PNW.  Join me in discovering it’s beauty.

Q’emilin Park 
12201 W. Parkway Drive
Post Falls, ID 83854

Directions to Post Falls Community Forest: Take I-90 to Exit 5, go south on Spokane St. to Q’emilin Park, or continue 3.2 miles south of West Riverview Drive to the Post Falls Community Forest Trailhead.  Park in designated lots only.



Patricia “Pattie” Elwing, moved to Washington State in August 2020.  A West Coast woman, her love for travel and discovering new places leads her around the world and now, around the Pacific North West.  Watch for “Pattie Discovers the PNW” articles in the Huckleberry Press where she will offer fresh reviews and information about places she visits.  If she sparked a bit of the travel bug in you, or inspires you on your own adventure, leave her a comment below!