Hike or horseback ride through Rustlers Gulch for some weekend stress relief

Taylor Newquist
Sports Editor

Emerging from a half-mile walk at the Rustlers Gulch Wildlife Area over a small-crested hill, is a stand-still scene of the West Branch Little Spokane River worth soaking in.

A short weekend drive down Highway 395, turning off at Loon Lake and continuing nearly to the end of Horseshoe Lake Road is a 3-mile loop trail within the 40-acre wildlife area. Rustlers Gulch is a part of the much larger Sherman Creek Wildlife area located east of the Stevens and Pend Oreille County border.

The hike has little elevation gain and continues for a short time along the West Branch Little Spokane River—which the wildlife area is also known as.

The area is managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, who lists species of moose, white-tailed deer and northern goshawk in the habitat, along with species of insects and wildflowers.

As a part of WDFW land a discover pass is required to park here. There is no day pass kiosk on location, but discover passes are available online at store.discoverpass.wa.gov for $35 annually.

Hunting and fishing are also permitted in the area when in season. Parts of nearby Horseshoe Lake are encompassed in the Sherman Creek Wildlife Area, which is a popular location for kayakers.

Horseback riding is also a great option for transversing through Rustlers Gulch. There is ample space for parking trailers at the entrance, and by the look of the droppings on the trail is a popular option.

If you’re looking for a longer journey than the 3-mile loop, there is another trailhead south near the intersection of Sherman Road and Horseshoe Lake Road on Holly Road. That trail totals 7.2 miles.
For detailed trail maps and information go to alltrails.com or download the alltrails app available for IOS and Android.