The Inland Northwest is home to many incredible outdoor activities. If you’re an avid mountain biker or seeking a thrill on your visit to Spokane, the mountain biking opportunities in the region have something for riders of all skill levels. Spokane mountain biking trails offer a variety of incredible trail types and beautiful scenery. The peak season for mountain biking typically runs from mid-April to early October before the snow flies. Spokane is home to three primary areas that are fantastic for mountain biking: Beacon Hill, Mount Spokane State Park, and the Mica Peak Conservation area. I’ve ridden each one of these areas many times and regardless of where you pick, you’re guaranteed to have a ton of fun!
All photos were shot by the author, Nicolas James.
Beacon Hill is about a 20-minute drive northeast of downtown. This trail system is home to the largest variety of trails for riders of all skill levels in the entire area. It offers everything from flowy single tracks to enduro-style flow trails, and expert-level technical trails. The best way to access Beacon Hill is from one of two different parking areas, Camp Sekani or Esmeralda Golf Course.
Beacon Hill - Camp Sekani
Camp Sekani Trailhead: 47.6952647,-117.3070447
The most popular way to ride Beacon Hill is to park at Camp Sekani right along the Spokane River. The Camp Sekani side of Beacon Hill is focused on beginner-level single-track trails and for those more experienced, the trails feature lots of well-rounded berms and jumps. When riding from the Camp Sekani side I recommend taking Upchuck to reach the top. The start of this trail is just east of the parking lot. You might pass people playing frisbee golf, but don’t worry, you’re on the right trail.
Once you reach the top, the fun part begins -- the descent. For less experienced riders, the best way down from Upchuck is either Peterbuilt or Rabid Rabbit. Both are single-track trails that work their way down the hill and don’t have any features that beginner riders would struggle with.
My favorite route on the Sekani side is top to bottom from Upchuck to Stalingrab. Stalingrab is an intermediate-level flow trail featuring large bermed corners and multiple sets of jumps and a small rock-roll feature at the end. If you’re an experienced rider and want to crush some fast laps with your friends, Stalingrab will not disappoint.
Another favorite trail of mine is Bomber. Bomber is a black diamond trail, suited for more experienced riders, that features a bit of everything. It has rock-rolls, jumps, drops, and technical rocky sections. It's more challenging to get down but worth riding if it's within your comfort zone.
For riders that are looking for a technical challenge, you can take Artificial High to Goode Times or Artificial High to Kessel Run (Yes, just like Star Wars). All three of these trails feature some very technical rock sections, drops, and jumps. It's worth your while to hop off your bike to look at each section before attempting as they definitely are a challenge.
Regardless of which trail you pick on the Camp Sekani side of Beacon Hill, you are guaranteed to have a blast. It’s worth noting to access the Esmerelda side you will want to follow Upchuck in its entirety and it will take you to the very top with the Radio Towers.
Beacon Hill - Esmeralda Golf Course
Esmeralda Trailhead: 47.6890099,-117.352439236
The other side of Beacon Hill is known as the Esmeralda side as it shares a parking lot with Esmeralda Golf Course. When mapping your way to the parking lot, I’d recommend mapping to Esmeralda Golf Course. When you arrive, you are welcome to park in any open spot for biking. Esmeralda is known for its tech trails featuring rocks, epic berms and in my opinion the best trails on all of Beacon Hill.
To get to the top take the Esmeralda trail. Shocking, right? This trail will take you all the way to the top. You’ll know the climb is over when you’re surrounded by a bunch of radio and cell phone towers. This trail is a two-direction trail and will also be your easiest way down if you’re a beginner rider. Also, since it’s a two-direction trail, keep an eye out for riders descending as some folks forget to yield to the rider traveling uphill.
Top Biking Trails at Esmeralda
From the Esmeralda side, there are three trails that in my opinion are a must: Master Blaster, Pop Rocks, and Commitment Issues.
Master Blaster is just a hair more than a beginner trail. It has the biggest, best-bermed corners on any trail I’ve ever ridden. It’s about as close as you can get to riding a bobsled course on a bike. I start with this trail pretty much any ride on this side of Beacon Hill.
If you're a skilled rider, Pop Rocks has just about every type of rock feature you can think of (hence its name) from large rock rolls to wall rides, it has it all. If you can handle it, full send.
Commitment Issues is a black-diamond trail that is similar to Pop Rocks but has more high-speed jumps and larger technical drops. Regardless of which side of Beacon Hill you choose, it’s a prime mountain biking destination in Spokane.
Mount Spokane State Park
Located 40 minutes north of Spokane is Mount Spokane State Park. In the winter, this is a prime ski and snowboarding area, but during the summer months it has incredible mountain biking.
Before heading to Mount Spokane, make sure you’ve got a Discover Pass as you will need this to park. You can get a Discover Pass at most gas stations or outdoor shops like REI, you can also pay for a day pass if you are only in town for a short time.
To access Mount Spokane, follow State Highway 206 all the way to the top of the mountain. This is one of the few recreational areas that you can drive all the way to the top of the mountain.
Where to Park at Mount Spokane
Lower Lot: 47.8880777,-117.1267719
Snowmobile Lot: 47.9046824,-117.102652
You have two options when it comes to riding Mt. Spokane. The first is to park at the bottom and ride the road to the top. The second is to shuttle. This requires one rider of the group to drive the car to the top, drop off the other riders and then drive back down to the bottom for the next lap. Most riders tend to shuttle as you can get the most laps in the shortest time. A group of three makes for the smoothest laps when shuttling. If you’re wanting the workout, riding to the top will get you exactly that. Either way, I recommend parking at either the dirt lot just below the Bear Creek Lodge or the Lower Mt. Spokane Parking lot.
Top Biking Trails at Mount Spokane State Park
Mount Spokane features some of the most fun dirt to ride in the Spokane area. Those used to riding in Western Washington or up in Canada will feel right at home. All trails on Mount Spokane are flowy single tracks and the only differentiating factor from the Intermediate to Expert trails will be the amount of rocky and root-filled sections on each trail. The easiest way down from the top is to take Trail 110. This will take you all the way to the Bear Creek Lodge, so remember to park accordingly. If you’re riding from the Selkirk Lodge, which is about halfway up to the top, Trail 120 is going to be your best route. Both trails are single tracks that weave their way down the mountain and are a ton of fun for all levels.
My favorite trail from top to bottom is Trail 290. This trail starts at the top and runs all the way down to the parking lot just past the ranger station, not Bear Creek lodge. Trail 290 is considered an advanced trail and has some technical rock gardens as well as fast root-filled sections. I eagerly wait for the snow to melt on this trail so I can ride it all season. Advanced riders can also take Trail 140 from the top to the Bear Creek Lodge. This trail will ride like 290 but features more rocky sections. Trail 140 has some of the best views on the whole mountain so it’s worth checking out.
Mica Peak Conservation Area
About 30 minutes southeast of town, Mica Peak Conservation Area is one of the newest areas to mountain bike. The trails were built in the summer of 2020 and have a fantastic variety of meandering single tracks combined with flowy enduro-style berms. The easiest way to access the Mica Peak trails is to park at the Belmont trailhead. This is a multi-use access point, so you’ll see plenty of hikers, horseback riders, and the occasional hunter depending on the season.
Top Biking Trails at Mica Peak
Mica Peak Belmont Trailhead: 47.5746638,-117.1375814
There are two ways you can get to the top of Mica Peak. The first is the fire road which is known as Moonshine. The road is about four and a half miles long and gains around 1,700 feet of total elevation. The road will bring you all the way to the top where you will see radio and cell towers. The other way up, and my personal favorite route, is to ride California Creek up and then take Moonshine the rest of the way. California Creek is a little more direct and the switchbacks make it a more gradual climb.
If you are a beginner rider, you are best suited to stick to riding California Creek and not venture any further past that. For those that are more experienced, once at the top, you can take Upper Silicate Slide to Lower Silicate Slide, then California Creek back to the trailhead. The Upper Silicate Slide trail features some very exposed sharp berm turns and is tailored for more experienced riders.
My favorite trail at Mica Peak is Lower Silicate Slide. This trail is a fast enduro-style trail that has fantastic berms, jumps, and drops. All features have a ride-around for those riders not comfortable hitting them. My favorite way to ride Mica is to go all the way to the top and then run a few laps on Lower Silicate Slide. I’ll usually do another lap after my first ride and ride Moonshine back to where it starts. The climb is mellow and it’s always worth the additional climb. Mica Peak is one of the prettiest areas in all of Spokane and is worth the drive if you’re wanting to ride with other riders and be immersed in incredible scenery.