Take advantage of September weather outdoors

Jeff Evans,performs in the gazebo in Reaney Park during 25th annual National Lentil Festival Aug. 17, 2013.

Jeff Evans,performs in the gazebo in Reaney Park during 25th annual National Lentil Festival Aug. 17, 2013.

LAURA GUIDO | Evergreen columnist

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If your residence hall is already beginning to feel cramped, it’s about time you look outside. Luckily for you, there’s a wide variety of outdoor destinations to keep you active during your time on the Palouse.

One of the closest to the WSU campus is the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail, which begins near the parking lot of the Quality Inn on Bishop Boulevard and runs eight miles along the highway into Moscow.

The smooth stretch of asphalt is one of few flat trails in the area and is open to practically all pedestrians – runners, cyclists, skateboarders, longboarders and rollerbladers. It’s open from dawn to dusk every day.

Those who prefer unpaved hills will enjoy hiking Kamiak Butte, a national landmark that offers five miles of forested trails and a panoramic view of Whitman County. The butte is the second highest point in the county, about 20 minutes north of Pullman on Highway 27.

About a half hour west of Pullman is Granite Point, where visitors can cool off in the water or simply sit back and enjoy the majestic views.

Some cliffs are equipped for climbers who enjoy bouldering and sport climbing, with about 10 routes of varying difficulty and some hangers bolted into the rock.

Granite Point sits about 1,000 feet lower than Pullman and gets especially hot during the summer, so go prepared with water and other necessities.

The Dunes are another popular swimming spot along the Snake River, about 50 minutes outside of Pullman. The beach is calm and plenty big enough to throw a Frisbee or kick around a soccer ball.

Moscow Mountain offers a more fast-paced experience with nearly 40 mountain biking trails of varying difficulty that wind through a dense forest. All the trails are built and maintained by the Moscow Area Mountain Bike Association.

Frolf (disc golf) enthusiasts will thrive on the courses at the University of Idaho and Sunnyside Park in Pullman. The grassy knolls of Sunnyside Park also contain community fruit and vegetable gardens.

Other parks in Pullman and Moscow offer unique activities of their own. Reaney Park in Pullman, for instance, includes a large public swimming pool, outdoor barbeques, picnic tables and a public gazebo for hosting events.

More information on any of these destinations can be found with a simple Internet search.