This self-guided tour originates from Spokane, Washington and has a northern route that includes the Pend Oreille gold country, Lake Roosevelt and Grand Coulee Dam, and a southern route that includes the Lewis and Clark Expedition route along the Snake River from Clarkson to Sacajawea State Park at Pasco and the Mouth of the Columbia River.
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Spokane is the gateway to a delightful array of things to do, grand adventures to experience, and awesome sights to see, starting with the Spokane River which roars through the heart of the city. Riverfront Park frames the Spokane Falls. There is a system of bridges and trails for walking that connect both sides of the river and provide exciting views of the falls and the city. The Great Northern Clock Tower and the classic Monroe Street Bridge frame the park. The falls served as the centerpiece of the environmentally themed Expo 74 World’s Fair. When the fair was over, the park was transformed into a beautiful, lush area with trails leading to the upper and lower falls.
A Sculpture Walk in the park includes fascinating bronzes. The park is home to the classic 1909 Looff Carrousel and a giant replica of a child’s Radio Flyer wagon. The Spokane Falls SkyRide provides great views of the falls and the city.
The nearly 40-mile Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail follows the Little Spokane and Spokane Rivers through Spokane all the way to the Idaho border. This trail links up with Riverfront Park, Riverside State Park, Lake Spokane, and Nine Mile Recreation Area. The combination of cascading waterfalls plus an array of outdoor recreation adventures in Riverside State Park has established Spokane as one of the nation’s unique outdoor recreational destinations.
Spokane’s definitive “Near Nature Near Perfect” drawing power is further enhanced by its varied culture, entertainment, dining, sports events, and shopping venues. The INB Performing Arts Center and the Spokane Convention Center border Riverfront Park on Spokane Falls Boulevard. The Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox is home to the Spokane Symphony, and the INB Performing Arts Center which presents Broadway shows throughout the year. The Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena hosts sports events. The Jundt Art Gallery at Gonzaga University, the Chase Art Gallery in City Hall, the Spokane Art District anchored by the historic Davenport Hotel, and the NW Museum of Arts and Culture in the Browne’s Addition Historic District add to Spokane’s popularity.
Mount Spokane State Park
The short drive on SR 206 leads to Washington’s largest state park. The drive to the top of the mountain provides sweeping vistas of surrounding states and Canada. The park has miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails that can be enjoyed from the late spring to early fall. During winter the park receives more than 300 inches of snow. Mount Spokane State Park transforms into a wonderland offering downhill and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and snowboarding. The forested slopes of Mount Spokane feature stands of old-growth trees and granite outcroppings. The park is home to moose, bear, bobcats, smaller wildlife, and a variety of mountain birds. There are eight standard campsites and a larger group campsite. The Summit Road is open mid-June through mid-October. The park is equipped with an automatic pay station to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass. During the winter season, from December 1-March 31, a Sno-Park Permit is also required.
The Pend Oreille Museum is a six-building complex that remembers the trappers, gold seekers, and lumbermen who made and lost fortunes in this rugged land. The complex includes a 1908 depot and two log cabins. The nearby visitor center introduces all the fun things to see and do, including watching grazing herds of bison at Usk.
People come from near and far to celebrate Down River Days. Just south of Ione is the Tiger Historical Center. North of Metaline Falls is Boundary Dam on the Pend Oreille River. There are spectacular viewscapes shaped by precipitous rock walls that descend to the lake and river. Crawford State Park Heritage Site is a day-use park with picnic tables for family outings.
Gardner Cave in Crawford State Park
This is the third largest limestone cave in Washington. Group tours are limited to 25 people. Call Crawford State Park at 509-446-4065 or Mount Spokane State Park at 509-228-4258 for more information. Seattle City Light offers a campground with standard campsites and restrooms next to Boundary Dam, one mile outside of Crawford State Park.
Gateway to the Washington State Scenic Byway from Tiger West to Republic
This scenic byway takes visitors to three national forests, through high mountain passes and scenic vistas. Crystal Falls, west of Tiger on the Little Pend Oreille River, is a delightful place to view the falls from the roadside. Colville, west on SR 20 near Kettle Falls, is where you can shop, dine, and kick up your heels.
Curlew Lake State Park
The Curlew Lake Scenic and Historical Route north of Republic on SR 21 leads to this park. There are camping, picnic, boat launch, and swimming sites. Another 25 miles north near the U.S.-Canadian border is Ronald McDonald’s Gravesite State Park Heritage Site, Washington’s smallest interpretive park. Further north on SR 21 is the town of Curlew. Its Anchorage Hotel Museum provides a close-up-look at the Gold Rush days.
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area and the Grand Coulee Dam
South of Republic is on SR 21, or SR 25 from Kettle Falls, or west from Spokane on US 2, SR 21, SR 174 and SR 155. The Lake has 22 public boat launches and 27 car and boat-in-only campgrounds. Seven are group campsites that can hold 25 or more people. Lake Roosevelt is managed by the National Park Service. Call 509-754-7800 or nps.gov/laro/index.
Dry Falls State Park is a 4,027-acre park below the dam with more than 73,640 feet of shoreline. Dry Falls was carved out during the Ice Age. At one time the falls were four times larger than Niagara Falls but now it is a stark cliff 400-feet high and three and a half miles wide. The park has a visitor center and 152 standard campsites, 15 miles of hiking trails, two boat ramps, and 680 feet of dock.
Gateway to Southeastern Washington attractions via US 195, US 12 and I-90
Spokane serves as a trailhead to attractions in Southeastern Washington including the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail which follows the Snake River to its junction with the Columbia River below the Tri-Cities area. Featured are:
Clarkston: Gateway to Hells Canyon on the Snake River
Lewis and Clark Trail State Park: near Dayton
Sacajawea Historical State Park: at Pasco
Palouse Falls: Washington’s newly designated official state waterfall that cascades 200 feet down a sheer rock cliff, then flows on to the Snake River
Lyons Ferry State Park and Central Ferry: nearby on the Snake River
The Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, southwest of Spokane near Cheney off I-90, is a unique marsh and timber ecosystem that attracts trumpeter and tundra swans, black terns, wild ducks, other waterfowl, as well as moose, whitetail and mule deer, beaver, and river otters. Visitors can follow a seven-mile self-guided auto tour.
For more information, visit http://parks.wa.gov/