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A short trail through Rose Creek Nature Preserve allows hikers to visit one of the last remaining patches of native Palouse prairie. BY PAUL CHISHOLM
For its size, Rose Creek packs a punch. This peaceful haven for wildlife, tucked away amongst fertile farmland, was designated a National Natural Landmark by the Park Service in 1984 in recognition of its uniqueness and ecological value. Wetland plant species like Fendler’s waterleaf and purple trillium can be found along the stream, while turkeys and whitetail deer roam the native bunchgrass uplands. Songbirds make their nests among the tangled web of hawthorne trees, and if you’re lucky you just might spot a great horned owl roosting in the branches above the trail.
Hike Rose Creek Preserve Loop
To the trailhead:
From Colfax, WA, head south on US-195 for 4 miles and turn left on Shawnee Road. Drive 6.3 miles to the parking area on your left.
Turn by turn:
1) From the parking lot, walk 0.2 miles to the bridge over Rose Creek.
2) From the bridge, the trail splits; complete the 0.3 mile loop through the highlands, eventually returning to the bridge.
3) Retrace your steps back to the parking area.
Bikes, pets, camping, and the collection of natural specimens is prohibited at Rose Creek.
Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, Rose Creek Nature Preserve (208) 882-1444