Whether on foot, bike or skates, the 40-mile Centennial Trail showcases 18 marked trailheads and spans two states, Washington and Idaho. Used by nearly 2 million people annually, this terrain-diverse trail offers tourists and locals beautiful and accessible recreation all year round.
Know Before You Go:
- A day pass is necessary for all state parks and recreation sites. The Discover Pass can be purchased online or by phone. Please visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov or call (866) 320-9933.
- Dogs on a leash are allowed unless otherwise noted.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Let’s keep our community safe and clean by practicing Leave No Trace.
- Hours at all state parks are dawn to dusk. The schedule can be viewed at www.parks.state.wa.us or call the information center at (360) 902-8844.
Spokane River Centennial State Park Trailheads
Each trailhead leads to different routes with various levels of complexity, depending on your activity of choice. For nearly 30 years, pedestrians have enjoyed the trail from March to October, dawn to dusk. Engage in outside ventures through forests, canyons, and the urban city center, all from the comfort of the paved pathway. Your next leisurely outing is just steps from Spokane’s city center so, let’s walk along the Centennial Trail together.
GETTING ON THE TRAIL
Downtown: Miles 20 - 23
The most convenient place to access the Cenntenial Trail is in Downtown Spokane. The trail can be accessed between miles 20 and 23 by most north or southbound streets between Mission Park and Kendall Yards, including Gonzaga University, the Riverpoint Campus, and Riverfront Park. The three-mile section of the trail winds through historic downtown Spokane where you can hop off the trail at any point to eat, drink, shop, and sightsee.
On the Riverfront Park section of the trail, you’ll find numerous viewpoints of the Spokane Falls, the largest urban waterfall in the United States. Catch a ride on the Numerica SkyRide at Riverfront Park. The fifteen-minute enclosed cable cabin offers a convenient waterfront excursion where you’ll experience breathtaking views of the Spokane Falls. Just off the trail, take a walk through Riverfront Park, home to the newly renovated Pavilion from the 1974 World’s Fair.
Mission Park: Mile 20.5
Adventuring east of downtown Spokane, you’ll pass by Gonzaga University and meander through the suburbs until you come up upon a more level part of the trail. As it winds around the river, you'll come to Mission Park. Here the path is shared with longboarders, inline skaters, and cyclists. You can also reach this section of the trail off of I-90 by taking Exit 282 at Hamilton Street. Head north and turn right onto Mission Avenue. Mission Park is just south of the intersection at Perry Avenue.
On this portion of the trail, you'll find eagle nests and many exciting places along the river to appreciate the area's charm. Some even utilize this section of the trail to fly fish the Spokane River.
Boulder Beach Trailhead: Mile 16
Boulder Beach Trailhead at mile 16 is where you’ll find the Beacon Hill Loop from Camp Sekani Park. It’s known as the best mountain biking trail in the area but, trail runners and hikers also use it. This three to six-mile route is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The mountain bike trails have an intermediate degree of difficulty. Most of those courses are single track with steep inclines in the wooded area where rock is visible. You’re in for a great workout on this one!
Islands Trailhead: Mile 12
The Island Trailhead sections both sides of the Spokane River beginning at Mile 12. Not only can you enjoy a trail run or bike ride from this point but, during the summer, this is a local favorite swimming area. With calm river water, everyone in the family can enjoy floating, swimming, fishing, kayaking, or a picnic by the river. Don’t forget your sunscreen for this section of the trail.
Mirabeau Point Park: Mile 10.5
The Mirabeau Point Park trailhead features a cascading 40-foot waterfall and pond that is home to a group of sunbathing turtles. Head to the viewing dock and boardwalk to get the best views of the waterfall. You’ll also find a small covered picnic shelter near the waterfall. Hop off the trail onto the Maribeau Park Trail Loop, which is just under two miles and span between mile marker 9 and 11. And if you’re looking to float the Spokane River, Mirabeau Park is a prime end spot.
Sullivan Park: Mile 9
Just off Exit 291 from I-90 East, head north on Sullivan Road and cross over the Spokane River. Then, turn left into the trailhead entrance. Once you’re parked, return over the bridge and enter on the south side of the Spokane River. This section has the Spokane River glimmering just below the trail making for a picturesque venture along the Centennial.
The Nest at Kendall Yards: Mile 23.5
From downtown Spokane, heading west, you’ll quickly come upon the nest at Kendall Yards. This scenic stretch of the trail takes you through new urban development and with stunning lookout points to view the rushing Spokane River below. You might even stop your activity for some coffee and mini donuts at a local donut shop called Hello, Sugar. Along the trail, you’ll find sets of orange and green Adirondack chairs for pedestrian resting and viewing pleasure.
Military Cemetery Trailhead: Mile 27
The intermediate paths off the Spokane Military Cemetery Trailhead have a variety of uses, from horseback riding to mountain biking. From the trailhead, head northeast skirting by the cemetery. A short but steep descent awaits, and you’ll see several dirt paths branching off of the paved trail. The views overlooking the river make it easy to get distracted by the tall ponderosa pines, open meadows, and wildlife. This section of the trail ends at the Bowl and Pitcher Trailhead.
Wilbur Trailhead: Mile 33.5
Located in Riverside State Park, at mile 33.5 on the Centennial Trail, Wilbur Trailhead travels upstream to the former camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, this site is just interpretive but, it still holds a piece of Spokane history for hikers to enjoy as they pass. The western parts of the Centennial Trail inside Riverside State Park, like that of Wilbur Trailhead, are considered some of the best routes out of the 37-mile total length. The Riverside State Park section of the trail is also horse-friendly.
Inside Riverside State Park is the local favorite Bowl & Pitcher Loop Trail, known for its picturesque suspension bridge over the rapids of the Spokane River. The winding trail is only about two miles and takes half an hour to complete.
Carlson Trailhead: Mile 36
Follow the Carlson Trailhead upstream near mile marker 36 to the impressive basalt rock formations of Deep Creek Canyon. Enjoy the breathtaking steep canyon walls, rock formations, and fossil beds. The fossil beds in the Deep Creek portion of the trail are surveyed by the Center of Northwest Anthropology at Washington State University. It is said that these fossils are nearly 11,000 years old.
From the Carlson Trailhead, go about ¾ of a mile until you reach the bridge and continue your way uphill until you take a sharp right onto Trail 25. Connecting to Trail 25, you’ll be well on your way to stunning views, and a heart-pumping hike within Deep Creek Canyon.
Nine Mile Falls Area: Mile 39.2
The Spokane River Centennial Trail comes to its end at Nine Mile Falls Recreation Area. Here paddlesport enthusiasts will enjoy a calm float along the Little Spokane River. Nearby, Lake Spokane invites boaters, anglers, and water sports fans to enjoy the great outdoors in a variety of capacities. If camping is something you live for in the summer, you’ll find four different campgrounds at Nine Mile Falls Recreation Area for quality family time both on and off the trail.
About the Centennial Trail
The trail was dedicated in November 1988 and named to commemorate the Washington State’s 989 Centennial. As part of the celebration, the citizens of Spokane rallied together to raise funds, inspire groups, and design trail projects. These volunteers worked diligently until the Centennial Trail plans were finalized. Later in 2010, the trail was branded as a National Recreation Trail with links to thirty other national trails in fifteen states. Today the 40-mile, 526 acre Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail is home to many interpretive opportunities with detailed guideposts for those who are interested in the history of the Northwest Native Americans, northern railway system, and many other historical landmarks. Such landmarks that can be found along the Spokane Centennial Trail include the remains of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, the site of the 1974 World’s Fair in Riverfront Park, and the Great Northern Railroad deport clock tower built-in 1902. You'll find the Centennial Trail connects to multiple city parks, state parks, and trailheads, which only expands its influence throughout the region.