Riverside State Park/Bowl & Pitcher
4427 Aubrey L White Parkway Spokane, WA
PARKING: DISCOVER PASS REQUIRED
This hike follows the Little Spokane River on an old railroad grade. When I moved here, my first thought when I heard Bowl and Pitcher was: PICNIC. To my surprise, once I began this hike and peered across the swinging bridge, I saw two enormous rocks in the river shaped like a bowl and a water pitcher. In other words, no picnic, but since this hike is in Riverside State Park, you can finish up with lunch at one of the many benches found along the journey. This hike is not very hard, nor does it change in elevation too much.
Iller Creek/Rocks of Sharon
9100 E Rockcrest Lane Spokane Valley, WA
Located in Spokane Valley right off Dishman-Mica Road and Appleway Boulevard, you'll find a small parking lot and south entry to Rocks of Sharon. This hike is full of mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers, and climbers. Climbers belay down the gigantic granite monoliths at the top. This hike has various trails to the top, some of which include more challenging terrain, including a 1,200 ft gain in elevation. Don't be intimidated. I've seen entire families with children of all ages, down to those tough moms toting their babies on their backs. No matter your skill level, challenge yourself as these views are definitely worth a little sweat.
Liberty Lake Loop Trail
3703 S Zephyr Road Liberty Lake, WA
PARKING: $2 PARKING FEE
Another favorite of many Spokanites is an 8.5-mile trek in nearby Liberty Lake. You’ll see cottonwoods, ponderosa pines, Douglas firs and cedars. In addition to the magnificent views of Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, the trail eventually levels out. It reaches a gorgeous waterfall, which is an excellent spot for a photo-op, quick snack or resting point. This hike is great for summer as shade trees provide coverage to keep you cool the majority of the way. The climb can be tough at times, with a 2,800 ft elevation gain, but the beauty of the trail and natural discoveries will distract you from the strenuous portions.
Mount Spokane State Park
26107 N Mt Spokane Park Drive Mead, WA
PARKING: DISCOVER PASS REQUIRED
Did you know that winter cross-country trails make for some of the best hiking trails? This vast state park has plenty of trails. If you're looking for something easy, you'll find it. If you want something challenging, you'll find steep inclines! Mount Spokane is enjoyable all year long. Whether you're skiing or snowshoeing, hiking through the fall colors, or following the huckleberry-dotted trail in August, you'll find something to pique your interest. Along this climb, you will pass through alpine meadows and rocky slopes before reaching the summit.
Dishman Hills Natural Area
625 S Sargent Road Spokane Valley, WA
Dishman Hills is a tremendous four-mile, out-and-back trail located in Spokane Valley. Most hikers love the options it provides. This area is unique because it's a neat woodland tucked away in a residential area. The Dishman Hills Natural Area is over 530 acres and a reminder to all of the value of grassroots conservation involvement in keeping commercial buildings out of protected natural areas. Wildflowers such as grass widows, wild rose and ocean spray, combined with ponds, giant rocks, caves and rare wildlife, make it an adventure for the whole family. Leaving the parking lot to begin your hike, stay to the left to experience a challenge and veer right for a more manageable level and open excursion. It's a light hike and could bore those who are more vigorous hikers. However, this is a great family hike and is perfect for allowing your kids to see large boulders, colorful wildflowers and small animals courageous enough to peek out and say hi.