Choose your own adventure at Riverside State Park

Morin Point Overlook above BP

Morin Point Overlook is one of many places at Riverside State Park where you can view the Spokane River.

Nov. 6, 2019

Looking for a place to tick off your recreational life list? Look no further than Riverside State Park!

This 9,000-acre park contains rivers, forests and wetlands. A mere 9 miles from downtown Spokane, it has become a renowned local hub and an eastern Washington destination.

But don’t take our word for it. Come see for yourself…

Go easy or hardcore. Here’s what the park has to offer: 

  • More than 50 miles of hiking, equestrian and mountain bike trails.
  • The 40-mile, paved, mixed-use Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail, running from Nine Mile Recreation Area  to  the Idaho border.
  • An obstacle course, arena and 60-foot round pen for horses.
  • A 600-acre off-road vehicle area, including beginner area.
  • Canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddling in the Little Spokane River Natural Area.
  • Rock climbing at Deep Creek Canyon.
  • Boating and motorized water sports on Lake Spokane.
Fishing at Bowl and Pitcher

An angler waits for a fish to bite near the iconic suspension bridge.

Just out for a mellow road trip? Start at Bowl and Pitcher. A churning spot on the Spokane River, this area features a replica of the original suspension bridge built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Walk across the bridge and look down. Turquoise currents pass midstream rock formations beneath you.

Then look up. The river courses through a columnar basalt gorge, evidence of the Ice Age floods more than 13,000 years ago.

For a bird’s eye view of the river and bridge, plan on tagging neighboring overlooks by car or by foot. 

Nine Mile picnic area

Nine Mile Recreation Area offers a social atmosphere for swimming, boating, picnics, camping or beach volleyball.

You can’t do Riverside in a day, so book a campsite or cabin, and adopt a more leisurely pace. You’ll find the camping as varied as the park itself:

  • Bowl and Pitcher campground accommodates tents and RVs, sits near the bridge and has a group camp and a small beach for fishing or wading.
  • The equestrian campground has campsites with corrals. Many horse trails leave from this campground.
  • Boaters and RVers flock to Nine Mile Recreation Area for partial and full hook-up sites, a boat launch onto Lake Spokane and picnic and wading areas.
  • The campground offers seasonal paddlecraft rentals near paddlers’ put-ins at Indian Painted Rocks, Highway 291 and St. George’s on Little Spokane River.
  • Lake Spokane campground has primitive campsites and a boat launch on Lake Spokane 15 miles from Nine Mile Recreation Area.

Not into tenting and don’t own an RV? Not to worry! Riverside recently opened two new five-person cabins at Bowl and Pitcher. The interiors blend modern and rustic – wood-paneled walls, high ceilings, ADA-accessible hot showers and concrete floors. Whether you’re snuggled inside or sunning at the picnic table, you’ll see resident deer nibbling at bushes and trees.

cabin interior by Jon Jonckers

The new Riverside cabin interiors are light and airy — and cozy and warm. Photo by Jon Jonckers.

Seasonal spectacles 

Stroll among willows, black cottonwoods and quaking aspens on the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers in fall and through lupine and balsamroot in spring. Covered in sparkly white, this year-round park is a hot spot for chilly fun in the winter months.

Historic significance

In addition to beauty and endless activities, Riverside has history as an important gathering place for Native American tribes and the fur trade. Visitors can see interpretive exhibits at the Spokane House and at historic markers around the park.

No matter what you check off your list, you won’t be bored at Riverside.

Bored baby and ranger fall 2019

Parting shot: Riverside Park Ranger Chris McKinney discusses park history with a dad at Bowl and Pitcher Overlook.