The Deep Creek Canyon Loop
The Deep Creek Canyon Loop is a 5 1/2 mile hike in Riverside State Park with moderate elevation change throughout the hike. Most of the hike is in the forest where there are a number of overlooks with panoramic views. Some of the hike is in canyons with steep walls and interesting rock formations. There is also a section of the hike that is on a paved path alongside the Spokane River. Overall, a beautiful hike close to town with some breathtaking views and striking scenery.
You can expect to spend roughly three hours on this hike where you will spend most of your time on Trail 25. Be sure to bring plenty of water and stay hydrated. There are many other trails and opportunities to make the hike longer if you would like, or by accident if you take the wrong path. The path is marked with marked posts but many are missing. I will try to give a good enough description here so that it won't be a problem.
There are three different places to park your car and begin your hike. All of them require a Discovery Pass. I will start you at the State Park Drive parking lot and travel the loop in a clockwise direction. I will also give locations and descriptions of the other two parking lots along the way to give you more options.
My personal preference is to travel the loop in a clockwise direction. Though there is no real steep terrain, a clockwise hike keeps more of the greater pitches as uphill walking which I feel, gives the hiker better footing.
When you look at this article on a mobile device, all you will see is the directional description of the hike and no pictures. This way you can easily use your phone for directions. Additionally, I will give latitude longitude coordinates throughout the hike that can be seen on a mobile device. When you go to your directional compass on your smart phone, it will give you your actual location in latitude and longitude that you can see change as you move.
To get to the State Park Drive parking lot, drive 1 1/2 miles west on Seven Mile Rd past the Seven Mile Bridge and turn left onto State Park Drive. Drive down this small gravel road about 1/4 mile until you get to the parking lot.
The Deep Creek loop trail starts on the west side near the entrance of the parking lot. 47°45'11.2"N 117°32'49.8"W At one time there was a post with a trail 25 marker but it was not there the last time I was there.
You will start out travelling northwest winding down to the merge of Deep Creek and Coulee Creeks. Deep Creek and Coulee Creek are almost always dry creek beds. You will cross Deep Creek which comes in from the east. 47°45'06.1"N 117°32'55.5"W
You will continue traveling southwest on the trail where there will be a gentle climb keeping Coulee Creek to your right.
After about 1/2 mile from your starting point you will get to the Pine Bluff Rd parking lot. 47°44'52.0"N 117°33'09.2"W This is your second starting point option. To drive to this lot, keep driving on Seven Mile Roan 1/2 mile past State Park Drive to Pine Bluff Rd. Turn right on Pine Bluff Rd and take an immediate right into the parking lot.
From here, continuing southwest, cross Pine Bluff Rd and fallow the trail 25 markers. The trail winds under the power lines for about another 1/2 mile where it crosses Pine Bluff Rd again. 47°44'54.7"N 117°33'34.4"W
On the other side of the road, trail 25 heads northeast and you will begin the ascent. Here you will be traveling a shelf part way down the side of a bluff. There will views off to the right as you make your gentle ascent. There will also be opportunities to step a short distance off the trail to further exploit these views. After about 1 mile with a couple of switchbacks, you will get to the vantage point where there are a couple of wooden benches and a clear view to the west. 47°45'19.4"N 117°33'12.0"W
This is the highest point of the trek and a great place to take pictures. From here you will see parts of the Spokane River in the valley below and Mt Spokane in the background.
To stay on trail 25 you travel north along the ridge for almost another 1/4 mile. 47°45'28.7"N 117°33'16.0"W Then the trail will turn west into the woods. Before the trail gets back as far as Bine Bluff Rd, Trail 25 will head north again. 47°45'26.9"N 117°33'28.3"W
With a little more than a 1 1/4 miles of gentle descent through the forest, this is the longest section of the hike. Because there are many trails and trail marking is sketchy at times, it is easy to get off of Trail 25. If you just keep heading in a northerly direction keeping Pine Bluff Rd well to your left, you will get to Carlson Rd. 47°46'21.6"N 117°33'41.0"W
Carlson Rd is a well-traveled gravel road going downhill from west to east. Not crossing Carson Rd, you will head downhill to the east. Keeping Carlson Rd on your left you will walk down another 1/4 mile where there is a parking lot with restrooms on the other side of the road. 47°46'19.5"N 117°33'08.9"W Part way down Carlson Rd, you may see a trail marker for Trail 25 heading south back into the woods, don't take this trail. Keep beside Carlson Rd until you get to the parking lot.
The Carlson Rd parking lot is the third parking option. To get there, you cross the Spokane River at Charles Rd just below the Nine Mile Dam. The first left after the bridge is Carlson Rd, where you will drive almost 1/2 mile and the parking lot will be on your left.
From the Carlson Rd parking lot, you will walk on the Centennial Trail south, next to the Spokane River. This part of the trek is an easy walk on pavement but you will be sharing the road with bicycles. You will walk south on the Centennial Trail for about 3/4 of a mile. When you come to a green steal bridge that grosses a creek, you are back at Deep Creek. 47°45'48.5"N 117°32'53.2"W Do not cross the bridge.
To your right you will find a marker for Trail 410. You will take Trail 410 southwest keeping Deep Creek on your Left. You will not be traveling in the creek bed but rather you will be ascending above the canyon floor on your left.
This portion of the trek is what I call "the badlands". It has its own unique beauty with its sparse vegetation and lava rock formations. There is one point where you can see a rock climbing wall down in the ravine below and you are likely to see climbers on the wall.
After winding around on Trail 410 for less than 1/2 mile you will come back to Trail 25, at this point you will take a left. 47°45'37.6"N 117°33'02.9"W Trail 25 will wind back down into the Deep Creek ravine for a 1/4 mile. You will walk up the crick bed for a very short distance when you will see a Trail 25 marker post on the left. 47°45'30.6"N 117°32'56.5"W
When you are at the bottom of the ravine, you have the option of walking down the dry creek bed a short distance to the rock climbing wall. The natural rock wall appears to be used as a training wall, as there is protection permanently affixed to the wall that can easily be clipped into as they climb. The trek down to the wall has a couple of spots that may pose a small challenge so travel with caution.
Here you will go up a steep trail for a short distance. In less than 100 yards you will come to a dirt road. 47°45'26.0"N 117°32'54.5"W You will take a right on the dirt road and the State Park Dr. parking lot will be less than a 1/4 of a mile away. 47°45'15.0"N 117°32'55.3"W
Written by:Todd Hays