Riverside State Park
Riverside State Park 14,000 acre park along the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers. Of the 87 parks in the Spokane park system, Riverside State Park is the largest. It is one of two State parks in Spokane County; the other one being Mt Spokane State Park.
With the park encompassing two revers, there is a lot of water recreation to be enjoyed. There is fishing, boating, swimming, floating, kayaking and canoeing. Kayaking or canoeing down the Little Spokane River is a spectacular journey into nature that only take half of a day but gives you the feeling that you are days away from civilization. The journey does not require any special skills or equipment. Because you are floating down stream, it isn't even that hard.
There are three areas designated for camping in Riverside State Park. There is a campground by the Bowl and Pitcher, one at the Nine Mile Recreation Area and another on Lake Spokane. These areas also offer day picnicking in addition to many other day use areas.
There is plenty of hiking where you can bird watch, view wildlife or just enjoy nature. There are 55 miles of hiking trails. Though many of the trails are shared with mountain bikes and horses, I have yet to see trail curtesy be an issue.
There is a variety of mountain biking available for many skill levels to enjoy. There are wide smooth dirt paths that are fairly flat that you can just cruse for miles on. If you happen to be a cross country rider, you will have no problem finding more challenging terrain with plenty of pitch.
For those who would rather bicycle on pavement, there is plenty of road biking to be had. You will find great road biking on both sides of the river so you can go down one side and up the other. Or if you are so inclined, you can ride the Centennial Trail all the way to Coeur d Alene. Eight of the 37 miles of the Washington portion of the Centennial Trail are in Riverside State Park.
There are 25 Miles of horse trails for some great trail riding. Horse trails are clearly marked and when shared with hikers and mountain bikers there are signs clearly marking the right of way hierarchy with horses being on the top.
If motorized recreation is more of what you are looking for, Riverside State Park also offers a 600 acre ORV Park. It is to the west of the main park and accessible from 7 Mile Rd.
Riverside State park has a rich history extending long before the white settlers, who began showing up in the early 1800s. Native American tribes utilized the resources of the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers and would often gather in the area where the two rivers meet.
The earliest settlers were trappers and fur traders. They were soon followed by farmers. There were a large number of dairy farms along the lower Spokane River. Some of the old farm buildings from the 1800s can still be seen standing today. One of these buildings in a log hay shed close to the Spokane House. It is the oldest standing building in Spokane County and perhaps the State of Washington.
Riverside State Park was established in 1933 with a large land gift from Washington Water Power and some smaller private land gifts. Over the years the park has continued to grow from land gifts, land purchases and military land transfers.
Many of the improvements in the park that we still see today are a result from the hard work of the men in the Civilian Conservation Core back in the 30s The CCC was part of Roosevelt's "New Deal" to help stimulate the economy during the Great Depression. The CCC built the suspension foot bridge that crosses the Spokane River near the Bowl and Picture. Additionally, the CCC built the rock walls and rock buildings that you see around the park.
written by:Todd Hays