Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bonnie Lake, Whitman and Spokane Counties

Bonnie Lake
Bonnie Lake in Whitman and Spokane Counties (access point is in Whitman County) is a beautiful tranquil and good size spiny canyon lake, with a county owned island that you can camp on called Bonnie Island. The only place around this lake that you are allowed to camp on is Bonnie Island. Land access is limited to this Island and shore line of the lake directly east and west of the Island. Lake shore access length is about the same length as the Island. In addition I have been informed local landowners allow one to hike in a short distance to view the waterfall on the north end of the lake unless otherwise posted. There is no way to verify the accuracy of this info so enter at your own risk. The nice thing about Bonnie Lake is that not everyone will want to take the effort to access this lake due to having to access it via a small creek and so most likely you will be alone on this lake. Be safe and go with a partner. Also stay away from the canyon walls as there are occasional rock slides. There are some fun features such as caves and a natural land bridge. You will have to paddle up (north) the small stream for about 3/4 mile in the bottom of a canyon through grazing-land. It is a popular kayaking lake and great to sail on due to the winds funneling down the canyon, and the scenery is spectacular. There is a ton of wildlife along the creek and around on and in the lake. Watch out for rattlesnakes. Very popular fishing and wildlife photography lake. You can access this lake via a small 16' motorized fishing boat but is much easier to access via the stream on a kayak or canoe. The stream gets very shallow in late summer and narrow as well limiting crafts widths to about 4 feet. The launch is on the south side of the bridge requiring you to pass under it to get into the lake with a clearance of 6 feet above the water. On the North end of the lake there is a creek that primarily feeds the lake with water. One can actually paddle up it a ways as it deep for quite some time as you paddle up it. To find the creek boat all the way up to the north end and watch for the creek to your right/east... it can be easy to miss due to all the plant life, plus this end of the lake is fairly shallow from only 1 to 3 feet depending on the time of the year. Other Features: 1. As you progress up the creek, as you head toward the lake on the left (west) you will see a natural land bridge (some call it an arch, but not officially classified as such). The locating this natural bridge can be hard to find since it blends in so well with the canyon walls. This natural bridge system is on private land so no hiking is allowed to it. 2. Near the north end of the lake is a beautiful waterfall over 100 feet high (picture and video coming soon), To get to this water fall go north up the lake as you near the end of the lake stay to the right/east side of the lake. When you near the end of the lake to the east you will see a deep dark canyon and this is where the water fall is. On the shore line you will see water running into the lake or if its a dry time of year you will see a rock debris field/creek bed entering the lake.... one has to hike up the creek bed to get to the waterfall as there is no trail. Its about 400 feet from the lake to the falls. The land that this water fall is on is private but the landowners allow access as long as we respect their land and do not litter, unless otherwise posted/notified. See printable map at the bottom of this page. Directions: From Spokane or Pullman on HWY 195 leave the HWY via the Bradshaw Rd Exit. A few miles on this road and it turns into Cheney-Spangle Rd. At the end of this road it Y's, Turn left (south) onto Wells Rd. Go only a few hundred feet and turn right (west) onto Pine Grove Rd. Follow this road until it T's into Cheney Plaza Rd. Turn right (northwest) on this road. Where this road meets Rock Lake Rd turn left (south). Follow Rock Lake Rd a few miles and turn left (east) onto Belsby Rd. follow this road until you drop into the canyon. Stop at the bridge where the primitive boat launch is at. Only park on the west side of the bridge along the road. Obey all signs and no trespassing signs. There are other roads you could use to get to Belsby Rd. but we chose this route because all the roads are paved except for Belsby Rd. Making it a much faster trip this route and with much less dust. If you are coming from Cheney simply take Cheney Plaza Rd. and continue on Rock Lake Rd, and then turn right (east) onto Belsby Rd to the lake. Maps: See JPG printable map below! See Google map below with feature identifiers. Info: Here is another website to learn about Bonnie Lake http://www.spokaneoutdoors.com/bonnie.htm

ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Gravel parking along road. Make sure you are far enough off the road as to not impede traffic; PATHS/TRAILS... None. Gravel rock area leading down to primitive launch real rough yet firm; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES… None; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments. DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS… No dock, one single lane rough gravel and rocky launch. Depth at end of ramp into creek is only 2 feet deep or so. Ramp is 4-8% grade; DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices. However due to the firmness of the ground, and with assistance one could get to the water. Lots of loose gravel and rocks. Ramp is 4-8% grade; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; CAMPING... Primitive camping on Island; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Mud and marine vegetation; Terrain: Level to about 4-8% grades at launch. Terrain on Island is steep and lots of hiking over big rocks and boulders. Waterfall access is via rough rocky and boulder creek bed... likely have to hike through the water to get to the falls due to thick brush limiting access on banks, etc.; H2O/Water: Water normally murky. Water temperature in the summer can be around 30 to 70 degrees; Environmental Conditions: Air temperature in the summer can be around 20 to 110 degrees due to the deep canyon, High winds in the summer, Danger Rattlesnakes; Resources: Be prepared, food, drinks, and gas off of HWY 195 a long distance away.

1 comment:

  1. Scotty Reed, February 21, 2015 at 11:44 AM: This is a great article! Thank you for sharing this information.