15 Top-Rated Hiking Trails near Spokane, WA

Written by Brad Lane
Updated Jun 23, 2021
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In Eastern Washington, Spokane is the second-largest city in the state. And it's surrounded by several stunning places to hike. Numerous landscapes invite all-day exploration, including the Spokane River corridor, which runs right through the center of town. Riverside State Park is separated into several different units along this scenic waterway, with each offering memorable paths to follow.

Other standout natural landscapes include the Selkirk Mountains, rimrock canyons, and a collection of humungous outcroppings known as Rocks of Sharon. The city and county also maintain several Conservation Areas and public parks, with hiking trails and quiet surroundings lacing each one.

Spokane's stunning outdoor scenery isn't in one central location, rather it surrounds all sides of the city. This 360-degree coverage enables new hikes every day of the week. And with places like Mount Spokane State Park offering winter snowshoe adventures complete with warming huts, trekking near the city takes place throughout the year.

Find your next Eastern Washington adventure with our list of the top hikes near Spokane.

1. Rocks of Sharon, Iller Creek Conservation Area

Hiking trails at the Rocks of Sharon | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Iller Creek is part of the larger Dishman Hills Conservation Area, in a tucked-away wooded neighborhood on the southeast side of the city. This natural area is well worth the visit much in thanks to its most iconic feature, "Big Rock," also known as Rocks of Sharon.

These large granite outcroppings stand out among the scenery due to their humungous size. And they provide sweeping views of the surrounding landscape, including the gold and green fields of the Palouse to the south. A five-mile loop trail circles the conservation area, bounded on each side by two trailheads: Stevens Creek Trailhead and Iller Creek Trailhead.

Rocks of Sharon | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

For quicker access to Rocks of Sharon, head to the Stevens Creek Trailhead. From here, it's approximately a mile hike to reach the rocks with a steady elevation gain. Stevens Creek is the trailhead preferred by rock climbers who carry their gear in to scale Big Rock. Several other outcroppings in the area also have permanent bolts for rock climbing.

Official site: http://www.dishmanhills.org/

2. Bowl and Pitcher, Riverside State Park

Bowl and Pitcher
Bowl and Pitcher | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Bowl and Pitcher Area is one of the most popular areas of Riverside State Park and home to one of the best campgrounds near Spokane. And it provides nothing short of a postcard view of the Spokane River.

From the main parking area and Bowl and Pitcher Campground, the hiking trail immediately encounters a Civilian Conservation Corps-era suspension bridge extending across the water. From the bridge, perhaps the best view of the area's namesake feature is on display, and the massive basalt rock formations lining the riverbank stand out with scenic appeal.

After crossing the suspension bridge and climbing a collection of stairs built into the hillside, hikers to this popular area can head left or right along the river to admire more views of the valley and rock features.

Official site: https://parks.state.wa.us/573/Riverside

3. Kit Carson Loop Road, Mount Spokane State Park

Kit Carson Lower Loop Road
Kit Carson Lower Loop Road | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Mount Spokane State Park is one of the most accessible areas of the Selkirk Mountains, encompassing over 12,000 acres and 100 miles of multi-use trails. And this crown-jewel of Spokane public space is only an hour's drive north of downtown.

All the trails at Mount Spokane transport visitors far from the city, and one of the most trodden trails is the Kit Carson Loop Road. Hikers, bikers, and snowshoers take advantage of this flat and wide route throughout the year.

The Kit Carson Loop mainly follows a retired forest service road with an easy grade. It includes several starting points and side-routes for different sized adventures. The two main trailheads are at the Lower Loop Road Trailhead and the Cook's Cabin Trailhead at the summit. A common approach to the Kit Carson Loop Road is to set shuttle at the lower trailhead and start the hike at the summit.

Alternative Kit Carson Loop trailhead | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The trail navigates over Smith Gap, where picnic tables and a great view encourage a rest. Smith Gap is also home to a renowned warming hut for winter pursuits. A few side trips along the route include options to summit Mount Kit Carson and Day Mountain. These two peaks offer challenging but non-technical climbs.

4. Rimrock Drive, Palisades Park

Palisades Park
Palisades Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

With easy access west of downtown, Palisades Park provides a network of trails atop a basalt cliffside overlooking the city. Hikers, bikers, and equestrians often utilize the many trails that loop and span the 700-acre park, and one of the most popular routes is along the gravel Rimrock Drive (not open to vehicles).

The view of Spokane from Rimrock Drive, backdropped by Selkirk Mountain peaks, is unparalleled anywhere else in the city. And thanks to its flat nature, it offers a family-friendly trek for all abilities. This accessibility makes Palisades Park a popular place to visit on the weekends, and parking can become a little tight. Arriving early to the trailhead is the recommended approach.

Palisades Park extends beyond Rimrock Drive. On the south side of the park, Indian Canyon is another popular place to explore at a lower elevation. This historical and culturally important natural space is now adjacent to the Indian Canyon Golf Course. The popular Indian Canyon Mystic Falls is one of the main focal points of the area.

Official site: http://www.palisadesnw.com/

5. Antoine Peak Trail, Antoine Peak Conservation Area

View from Antoine Peak Summit | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Antoine Peak Conservation Area encompasses over 1,000 acres on the northern edge of Spokane Valley. It is a popular natural space for wildlife and trail users of all kinds. Hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding are some of the most popular ways to explore, and coming from the west trailhead, visitors have two scenic routes to choose from.

The most popular route is the approximately two-mile Antoine Peak Trail. This moderate route reaches the top of the 3,373-foot mountain for panoramic views of the Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, and the Selkirk Mountains. The route climbs approximately 700 feet in its journey up, making for a steady but not excruciating approach.

Antoine Peak Conservation Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Alternatively, the Emerald Necklace Trail at Antoine Peak circles the entire mountain in just over five miles. And it's often lined with vibrant displays of wildflowers come spring. Both routes can be combined for a variable-length journey.

6. Liberty Lake Loop, Liberty Lake Regional Park

Liberty Creek Waterfall
Liberty Creek Waterfall

Liberty Lake is southeast of Spokane, near the Idaho border. It's home to a looped hiking trail that begins and ends at Liberty Lake Regional Park and winds through eight miles of forested environment. The full loop trail is well-maintained and a long-time favorite of the region and encourages a hearty hike with moderate elevation change. Shorter trips are available with out-and-back options and cut-off trails.

The first 2.5 miles of the trail are easily graded until reaching Cedar Grove Conservation Area. From this dense landscape and possible turnaround spot, it's recommended to follow the switchbacks up to Liberty Creek Falls, which are at their fullest come spring. The Split Creek Trail provides an alternative route paralleling the Liberty Lake Loop, and a campground at this regional park encourages multiple days of exploring.

7. Riverside State Park Trail 25, Deep Creek Canyon

Basalt boulder field in Deep Creek Canyon
Basalt boulder field in Deep Creek Canyon | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Trail 25 is a roughly six-mile round-trip traversing the scenic Deep Creek Canyon of Riverside State Park. It offers a lush environment sandwiched between tall canyon walls. The trail has various access points with one popular parking area off W 7 Mile Road. From here, the route crosses dry creek beds and winds through the forest with a moderate grade.

Hikers can follow the blazed Trail 25 or follow the contours of the creek bed when it's dry. The trail eventually leads through a unique basalt field complete with impressive rock features that make hikers forget how close they are to the city. Popular spots for rock climbing line this area and all down the trail.

Several routes span throughout the area extending from Trail 25. It helps to bring a map or reliable GPS when visiting this area of Riverside State Park.

8. High Drive Bluff Park

High Drive Bluff Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Lining much of High Drive Parkway on the southside of the city, Bluff Park encompasses over 500 acres of steep terrain. The entire area offers extensive views of the Latah Valley neighborhood, with over 20 miles of trails cut into the side of the bluff. And every route leads through a picturesque ponderosa pine and bunchgrass landscape.

Several trailheads lining High Drive Parkway lend access to the bluff trails. And many trails define the area, with all generally heading horizontally across the bluff. This trail construction means that while there's some elevation gain to reach the main path, the entire route is relatively flat. This easy contour makes it popular for trail running and mountain biking.

A paved pedestrian trail separates the parkway and the bluff. With this paved route connecting several trailheads, an unlimited variety of looped trails is possible. The south end of High Drive Bluff Park takes hikers to the edge of Creek at Qualchan Golf Course. The northern reaches of the park stretch to 7th Avenue.

9. Turtle Rock Trail, McKenzie Conservation Area

Newman Lake, seen from McKenzie Conservation Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The McKenzie Conservation Area is a 45-minute drive northeast of downtown, between Antoine Peak and Mount Spokane. It offers a small network of natural trails, all of which ultimately lead to the bank of Newman Lake. The most common sight to see in the Conservation Area is a large outcropping near the shoreline known as Turtle Rock.

It's less than 1.5 miles of easy hiking to reach Turtle Rock and the lakeshore. And much of the route is shaded thanks to the area's dense forest of cedar, fir, and pine trees. This forest opens up upon reaching the lake, where a beautiful view across the water invites a few moments to relax. Here, Mount Spokane, less than 10 miles north, is prominently in view.

Bald eagle in McKenzie Conservation Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

While enjoying the natural scene at Newman Lake, keep an eye out for resident wildlife in the area. Specifically, many birds are spotted soaring through the air, including several bald eagles that utilize the tall trees surrounding the lake. The trail network allows for an easy out-and-back hike from Turtle Rock or a slightly longer looped trail following Bedrock Ridge.

10. Knothead Loop, Little Spokane River Natural Area

Little Spokane River Natural Area
Little Spokane River Natural Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Little Spokane River is the northernmost section of Riverside State Park. This natural area highlights the lush river valley and soggy banks of the Little Spokane River. And because it's a designated conservation space, no swimming is allowed. However, the best way to take in this scenic riparian corridor is via the seven-mile Knothead Loop Trail.

Beginning at the Painted Rocks trailhead, the trail follows the flat contour of the river plain before meeting an old roadbed and ascending on the Knothead Loop Trail proper. Weaving up and down across several hills, great views of the valley are seen below. It's popular for trail runners and day hikers alike. Exposed areas on the trail can experience high heat in the summer.

11. Goldback Loop Trail, Dishman Hills Natural Area

Dishman Hills Natural Area
Dishman Hills Natural Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Dishman Hills Conservation Area is an ongoing conservation project, currently split into three distinct natural areas on the south side of the city. Alongside the popular Iller Creek area, including Rocks of Sharon, and the recent addition of the Glenrose Unit, the Dishman Hills Natural Area is a great place to explore outside.

Immediately upon parking at the eastern trailhead, visitors encounter the beginning of the Goldback Loop Trail. Here, spherical mounds dot the landscape. The trail quickly climbs a set of stairs from the trailhead, and the route bobs up and down along these hillsides.

The Goldback Trail Loop is just the beginning of exploration in Dishman Hills. And it's a popular route as a good launching point for other loops that spread throughout the natural area.

12. John H. Shields Park

Basalt outcropping at John H. Shields Park
Basalt outcropping at John H. Shields Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

On the north side of the city, adjacent to the Spokane River and Centennial Trail, John H. Shields is a city and county-owned park featuring massive rock formations. The large basalt formation in the park known as Minnehaha is the main focal point and a destination for rock climbing adventures. And a sprawling network of hiking trails surrounds this massive outcropping.

The main trail circles the entire rocky outcropping, revealing different places where rock climbers belay their partners. This main trail connects to the many other spur trails that wind throughout the area. More than one of these spur trails leads to the top of the basalt outcroppings, where anchors accommodate top-rope climbing. This elevation delivers long-distance views of Spokane Valley.

13. Indian Canyon Mystic Falls

Indian Canyon Mystic Falls | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Three miles west of downtown and a short drive from Spokane International Airport, the area known as Indian Canyon offers excellent hiking opportunities and a waterfall. The site is part of the larger Palisades Park and is next to the Indian Canyon Golf Course.

Mystic Falls is nearly audible from the parking area on South Indian Canyon Drive. For those looking to lay eyes on the rushing water, the easiest route is taking a quick right from the parking area onto Trail 121. A great view of the waterfall immediately presents itself at the cliffside, where the trail then descends to the creek bed.

Users can then follow the creek bed for a closer look at the falls, or follow the trail on the opposite bank for a looped route. Several side trails and other established routes lace the entire area, offering variable distance hikes. This easy accessibly and variety of trails makes Indian Canyon a popular spot for quick afternoon jaunts.

14. Mineral Ridge National Scenic Trail, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Mineral Ridge National Scenic Trail
Mineral Ridge National Scenic Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Across state lines in Idaho and on an eastern bank of Lake Coeur d'Alene, this designated scenic trail delivers on long-distance views and an interesting look into the area's history. Operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the trail begins at a paved parking area and adjacent picnic space and climbs steadily to the ridge from here.

Along this well-maintained path, different interpretive markers match up with a guidebook published by the BLM. This guidebook is generally available at the trailhead and describes the flora, fauna, and history of this scenic area.

The ridgeline portion of the trail delivers sweeping views of the northern lake basin, including Beauty and Wolf Lodge bays. Hundreds of bald eagles descend upon Lake Coeur d'Alene throughout the winter, and Mineral Ridge is a well-known spot to see these massive birds flying in the air.

Official site: https://www.blm.gov/visit/mineral-ridge-scenic-area-and-national-recreation-trail

15. Fryxell Overlook, Palouse Falls State Park

Palouse Falls
Palouse Falls

Plunging over 200 feet into a colorful, columnar basalt gorge, Palouse Falls is the designated state waterfall of Washington. It was created by Ice Age floods thousands of years ago just upstream of the confluence of the Palouse and Snake Rivers. And it's accessible from Spokane with less than a two-hour drive.

Palouse Falls and the surrounding 94-acre state park are in a remote part of the region, accessed via a gravel road and the small town of Washtucna, also known as the Gateway to Palouse Falls. Visitors should prepare to lose cellphone service when visiting, and pack in plenty of water. But with ADA-compliant hiking trails and parking areas, and a sea of changing color come sunset, it's well worth the gravel-road approach.

The short hiking trail that tours Palouse Falls State Park features three prominent viewpoints that illustrate why it's one of Washington's best waterfalls. From the parking area, a short ADA-accessible path leads to the first stunning view of the falls, and the second viewpoint is accessed via an interpretive path lined with information about the falls' creation.

The third viewpoint, the Fryxell Overlook, affords perhaps the best view of the falls and surrounding gorge. Sunset and sunrise are the most recommended times to climb the steep path to access the overlook.

Where to Stay in Spokane after Hiking

Luxury Hotels:

  • For the most luxurious stays in Spokane, the city hosts several Autograph Collection hotels, which deliver with style, aesthetics, and service. In the heart of Spokane's cultural district downtown and a short drive to the Gonzaga University campus, The Historic Davenport is the epitome of class and comfort. Featuring large rooms, restored accommodations, and a Peacock Lounge, this fanciful boutique hotel provides a night to remember.
  • Across the street, The Davenport Lusso provides equally elegant accommodations, and this charming hotel is well reputed for its romantic inclinations.
  • Less than a block away, The Davenport Tower also delivers on decadent stays, with a heated pool, lounge area, and room service available.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • A large number of quality mid-range hotels can be found in and surrounding downtown Spokane, and hotels like The Madison Inn by Riversage on the city's south side deliver with comfortable rooms, clean facilities, and a friendly staff.
  • North of Riverside City Park in the downtown district, Oxford Suites Downtown Spokane provides exceptional accommodations at affordable prices. Featuring an evening reception, full breakfast bar, and free Wi-Fi, Oxford Suites is also popular thanks to the indoor pool, sauna, and fitness facility also attached.
  • Across the street from Oxford, the Holiday Inn Express Spokane Downtown is a dependable name-brand hotel, which delivers on clean rooms, comfortable beds, and a friendly rate for upscale accommodations.

Budget Hotels:

  • Many affordable hotels surround Spokane and the downtown district, and some hotels outshine others when it comes to cleanliness, friendliness, and comfort alongside a great rate. Ramada by Wyndham has two highly rated budget hotels in the city, and whether the Ramada by Wyndham North or Ramada by Wyndham Downtown suits your location needs, you can expect to have a good night's sleep surrounded by well-kept facilities.
  • Alternatively, a little farther north of downtown, Apple Tree Inn provides quaint accommodations for an affordable rate and is known for its friendly employees.

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