Colfax Rail Trail

First off, this trail can be a bit of a bugger to find, so directions.

Headed westbound on Highway 26 from Colfax, you will cross over the bridge over the Palouse River. West River Road is immediately on the other side of the bridge, on the right. Turn here. Follow that gravel track as it winds through the industrial zone, past the rock plant.  Along the way, you'll pass a stick with a faded cone perched on it. You're on the right path. Follow the road as it turns into a dirt track until you reach a green gate. Easy, if you know where to make the first turn.

Now the trail.

 The first gate and the trail beyond. Parking is to the right. It's wide enough to pull a U-turn or fit multiple vehicles.

The first gate and the trail beyond. Parking is to the right. It's wide enough to pull a U-turn or fit multiple vehicles.

 The trail parallels the Palouse River and, early in the run, there are expansive views of the wheat fields.

The trail parallels the Palouse River and, early in the run, there are expansive views of the wheat fields.

 The footing is varied but mostly good. Watch for the occasional rock. Also, bear, deer, elk, and cow poop. The Colfax Rail Trail just after the abandoned trestle.

The footing is varied but mostly good. Watch for the occasional rock. Also, bear, deer, elk, and cow poop. The Colfax Rail Trail just after the abandoned trestle.

 The natural basalt provides some protection from the wind and adds texture to the vistas.

The natural basalt provides some protection from the wind and adds texture to the vistas.

 The end of the line. Between this point and that tunnel is the river. A portion of the trail curls up to the south. I didn't check it out. Instead, I played.

The end of the line. Between this point and that tunnel is the river. A portion of the trail curls up to the south. I didn't check it out. Instead, I played.

 From the middle of the Palouse River. Fording the river to check out the tunnel . . .

From the middle of the Palouse River. Fording the river to check out the tunnel . . .

 The inside of the tunnel - or what's left of it. Native basalt is visible at the rear of the tunnel. The thin ribbon you see is the remaining concrete that didn't get taken out by the cave-in. Almost certainly unsafe for entry.

The inside of the tunnel - or what's left of it. Native basalt is visible at the rear of the tunnel. The thin ribbon you see is the remaining concrete that didn't get taken out by the cave-in. Almost certainly unsafe for entry.

I saw the bald eagles again while I ran, along with a blue heron. The heron was at the beginning part of the Colfax Rail Trail. The eagle was in the first copse of trees on the return trip. Couldn't have been more than ten yards away and thoroughly magnificent.

From the droppings, elk are frequent visitors though I only saw a pair of mule deer and a herd of cows.

I think I spent more time fording the river (don't try this trick in spring or we'll have to retrieve your body from Palouse Falls!) and exploring the tunnel than I did running. Fun way to spend an afternoon.