TRAILBEAR: SHADE BEAR – On the Greenbelt Trail
9/13/2010, Clarkston, WA.
Two states, two rivers, two trails – it’s Lewiston, ID and Clarkston, WA and each has a trail running up their side of the Snake River, built by the Corps of Engineers. This is Clarkston and their trail is the Greenbelt Trail.
What can we say? It’s a nice ride up the Snake River – and back down. There is no bridge to loop over at the upper end. There is one at the bottom and another in the middle. The trail runs from the Granite Lake Park down in Clarkston to the Chief Looking Glass Park upriver in Asotin.
The lower half is in shade in the greenbelt. The upper half is right along the river and in sun. In summer, that is nice and hot, with black lava and basalt to add some sizzle. The pavement is good, the scenery nice, and the facilities along the way decent. Grade it A, B, B.
At this point in the 2010 Survey Season, the TrailBear has already added nine trails running along creeks, lakes and rivers to RTC’s Traillink database. Here is number 10. Number 11 is across the river, for a total of 75 miles. He has another 18 miles of survey to go here at Lewiston and Clarkston and then up to Pullman to survey in the Palouse. Bear has some déjà vu going on.
@@@ GRANITE LAKE PARK, CLARKSTON, GE: 46.426057 -117.048950
This is a nice city park on the shores of Lower Granite Lake, and a full service trailhead. Without the dam downstream it would on the shores of the Snake River. However, the lake waters have submerged the mouths of the Snake and the Clearwater. Over in Lewiston the Corps of Engineers built a riverfront levee to protect the lower town from the lake waters and put a trail on it: The Lewiston Levee Trail.
You can start this ride from the picnic shelter. Before leaving, take note of the info sign: “Lewis and Clark almost slept here”. (They slept on the north shore, to the chagrin of the future larkston Chamber of Commerce on the south shore.)
Head east from the shelter. You will pass a tour boat dock, and then a rather posh RV park filled with Leviathan Class RVs as you curve into the mouth of the Snake. (The cheap RV start at $500,000 – yachts on wheels.) A mere .75 miles out of Granite Lake Park and you are at …
@@@ GREENBELT BOAT RAMP, GE: 46.421005 -117.038816
This facility, on the Clarkston end of the Blue Bridge (US 12), would make a fine trailhead if you desire. For now just work across the parking lot, pick up the Greenbelt Trail sign and duck under the Blue Bridge. You are now riding close to the river in a greenbelt below the bluffs. The riverfront homes are on the bluff above. In 0.7 miles you arrive at a beach at …
@@@ CHESNUT BEACH PARK, GE: 46.41007 -117.03783
Here is another trailhead options with parking, portapotty, a sandy beach and benches with good river views. On the bluff overhead is Beachview Park. One mile further brings you to …
@@@ THE SOUTHWAY BRIDGE (FLESHMAN WAY), GE: 46.396684 -117.043648
The trail runs under the Southway Bridge. If you want a loop ride, take the side trail up to the bridge deck, cross over to the Idaho shore and ride the Lewiston Levee Trail down river to the Blue Bridge and cross over to the Greenbelt Boat Ramp. This gives you a loop ride about six miles long. You ride under the bridge and onward for another mile to …
@@@ THE BOAT LAUNCH AT SWALLOWS PARK, GE: 46.386474 -117.047649
Yes, another potential full service trail head. There are fine groves of mature shade trees at Swallows Park, the usual picnic facilities and restrooms and water down at the boat launch. The park has a series of off shore islands forming lagoons. The boat launch is in the largest lagoon. At the bottom of the park you will find a Forest Service office facility with information on recreation on the Snake River.
Beyond that you enter the Shadefree Zone. Here the trail runs in the bright sunshine between the river and Rt. 129 for 2.9 miles up to …
@@@ ASOTIN AND THE END, GE: 46.34320 -117.057197
Contrary to the handouts, the trail does not actually reach Chief Looking Glass Park, proper. There is a sewer plant and a creek in the way. You can use the highway, but no matter. There is a small parking area here at the trail end. Restrooms and water are over at Looking Glass.
Look around. Across the river is Hells Canyon State Park. The Lewiston Levee Trail starts in the back of the campground over there. It’s a fun ride, with a bit more to do. Have you learned about Lewis and Clark yet? (How could you avoid it?) You can learn even more on the LLT.
Up the river is Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in the U.S. Yes, deeper than the Grand Canyon, but not as grand. There is a drop of over 7,900’ from the top of the Seven Devils to the river below. No, you can’t drive up it. No roads. You can take a boat tour.
Heading back to the shade.