Mt. Spokane State Park
Mount Spokane State Park is known as a hub for year-round adventures. As Washington’s largest state park, Mount Spokane has over 100 miles of trails within the dense forest of the Selkirk Mountains. Mount Spokane State Park boasts a multitude of panoramic views, meaning you can hike for days and not see the same view twice. Kit Carson, Day Mountain, and the mountains of Spokane are waiting for you to conquer them.
Mt. Spokane Park Features
Mount Spokane State Park spans over 13,900 acres. The area's beauty is that it offers year-round recreation like nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, camping, horseback riding, biking, hiking trails, berry picking, and much more within just an hour's drive from Downtown Spokane! The summit of the mountain reaches 5,883 feet and boasts insane panoramic views. Mount Spokane State Park has over 100 miles of trails to explore on your next hiking adventure. Mountain bikers and equestrian lovers have over 80 miles of trails to explore for long rides. Moose can be found on the mountain, so keep your eyes open during your adventure.
When the snow flies, winter sports are a highlight of the mountain. The Mt. Spokane State Park Nordic Ski Area has 37 miles of groomed ski trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Also, within Mt. Spokane State Park, Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park operates independently, providing exceptional alpine skiing and snowboarding opportunities, from December to April. The Ski & Snowboard Park is a favorite among locals and visitors, boasting 52 runs, 7 lifts, 1,700 skiable acres, and over 2,000 feet of elevation.
Top 3 Trails in Mt. Spokane State Park
Mount Spokane State Park is a refuge for anyone needing a quick getaway; but, with over 100 miles dedicated to trails on Mount Spokane, it’s tough to pick just one. The six trails that follow are popular, relatively short trails that can be used for winter and summer activities.
Mount Kit Carson Trail
This is a moderate to hard rated trail. The shortest option to start this trail is to begin at Cook's Cabin trailhead along the summit road. From the trailhead, cross the road and begin the hike along the Upper Mount Kit Carson Loop Road. From this trailhead its one mile to Saddle junction and the Trail 160 intersection. This is a year-round trail that shares use with snowmobiles.
7.5 Miles Roundtrip
Three Peaks Loop
This trail will take you to the peaks of Mount Kit Carson, Day Mountain and Mount Spokane. With significant elevation gain, the trail is rated as hard. The hike begins at Mount Kit Carson Loop Road. Trail 104 switchbacks away from Mount Kit Carson Loop Road before meeting a junction with trail 100. While there are many side trails, all major turns on the route are signed at trail junctions.
12.6 Miles Roundtrip
This trail is rated as moderate. Start at the switchback parking lot and walk a short distance down Lower Loop Road. Turn right on Trail 100 then turn left at the next junction to cross the first part of Burping Brook. You’ll stay on Trail 100 until it ends at Smith Gap on the Kit Carson Loop Road. For shorter trail options, take either of the two left forks from Trail 100 and left again onto Loop Road. This is another trail recommended for snowshoeing.
5 Miles Roundtrip
There’s something about camping with your loved ones that create lifelong memories. Mount Spokane has eight standard campsites, all with running water and flush restrooms. If you’re planning to camp on Mount Spokane, keep in mind that all campsites are first come first serve. Check-in time begins at 2:30 pm and check-out is at 1 pm. For a unique overnight stay experience, spend the night in the fire lookout that sits on the rocky summit of Quartz Mountain within Mount Spokane State Park.
The Quartz Mountain Fire Lookout is perched at an elevation of 5,129 feet, providing outstanding views of Spokane Valley, the North Idaho panhandle, and the Selkirk Mountains. You can spend the day hiking through wildflowers and picking huckleberries. As the sun begins to set, watch from the comfort of this cozy wood-frame fire lookout with wrap-around windows. A propane stove is available for visitors to use for cooking but, you will want to pack in your own food.
The 14-by-14-foot accommodations sleep four comfortably but, leave the pets at home for this trip. In the morning, enjoy a cup of coffee on the deck. You won’t find electricity in the lookout, making this the perfect destination to unplug for your vacation. Grab your family or friends and stay at the Quartz Mountain Lookout anytime from June 15th through September 30th. For more information on staying at the lookout visit the Washington State Parks website.
Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park
Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park is the region’s only 501(c)3 nonprofit ski area and independently operates within Mt. Spokane State Park. Voted #1 by readers of The Inlander for over 10 years in a row, Mt. Spokane provides epic skiing and snowboarding for all ages and abilities. With 52 runs, seven lifts, an epic terrain park, the region’s most comprehensive ski school, and a friendly community, this unique place offers something for everyone.
There is nothing quite like skiing and snowboarding under the stars and Mt. Spokane provides more night ski terrain than any other mountain around. Local craft beer, fire pits, a fun-loving community, and the beauty of the mountain make for memorable nights. Night Skiing is very affordable and operates most Wednesdays through Saturdays during ski season.
The stoke is real at Mt. Spokane Terrain Park which features jumps, hits, rails, and more for freestylers of all levels. Gaining traction as one of the premier terrain parks in the West, Mt. Spokane has a large following of freestyle riders who help host a variety of events and competitions throughout the season.
The Park typically operates December–April for the winter season. They also offer summer programs and camps. Learn more about schedules, tickets, and events at www.mtspokane.com.
During the summer, you’ll need a Discover Pass to park anywhere within the State Park for day use. Learn more on the Discover Pass webpage. If you don’t already have a discover pass, Mount Spokane State Park is equipped with an automated pay station for visitors to buy a one-day or annual Discover Pass and a one-day Sno-park permit. Sno-park permits are required everywhere within the park, excluding the alpine ski area parking lot during regular operation.
Mt Spokane has been an important gathering place for local indigenous peoples for many years. The Spokane tribe used the summit of the mountain as a spiritual pilgrimage site. Today Mt Spokane is a winter and summer recreational paradise. Mount Spokane got its official name in 1912 from Spokane resident and businessman, Francis H. Cook. The mountain was previously known as Mount Baldy and Mount Carlton. Cook, also of Manito Park’s fame, purchased the mountain’s summit and began building a road to the top in 1909. The road fell short of the summit by just three miles but it was finished in 1912. A small cabin on the mountain was enjoyed by the Cook family until 1926.
Mount Spokane was dedicated in 1912 and given its name by Cook. This event was attended by Governor Marion E. Hay, the first Miss Spokane (Marguerite Motie), Aubrey L. White, and the Cook family.
Later in 1927, 1500 acres became Mount Spokane State Park and was officially dedicated. During this time, Mount Spokane was the first state park east of the Cascades. In the 1930s over 500 acres were purchased by the Spokane Ski Club, the Selkirk Ski Club, and the Spokane Mountaineers to use for the construction of lodges, rope-tows, and ski jump hills. These groups advocated for the construction of infrastructure and facilities including a grand lodge that concluded construction in 1940. Unfortunately, the lodge had a short life span due to an electrical fire in 1952. Private contractors constructed the iconic Vista House at the mountain’s summit in 1933. The following year, in 1934, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was established in June. The camp was known as Camp Francis Cook and could be found on Beauty Mountain. It could house 200 young CCC enrollees at a time. The camp only operated six months out of the year due to tough winter conditions. The CCC enrollees worked to build roads, trails, and picnic areas throughout the park and they are still used today. In 1940, the camp was disbanded. By 1946, Mt Spokane was home to the world’s first double chair lift.
Amazingly enough, the lift was actually a converted ore bucket mining tram, constructed by the Riblet Tramway Company of Spokane. Although it was eventually replaced by the current day Chair #1, the double lift was in service for three seasons. At one point, Chair #1 had the longest vertical rise of any lift in the Pacific Northwest. Today, skiing is still one of the most popular activities in Mount Spokane State Park.