Mt. Spokane State Park
Mt Spokane State Park is known as a hub for year-round adventures. As one of Washington’s largest state parks, Mt 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 Mount Spokane are waiting for you to conquer them.
Mount Spokane State Park spans over 13,900 acres. The beauty of Mount Spokane is that it offers year-round recreation like nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, camping, horseback riding, biking, and hiking trails, berry picking, and much more within just an hour 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 for them during your adventure.
Skiing and snowboarding are a highlight of the mountain during the winter with nearly 37 miles of nordic ski trails through varying terrain for all types of skiers. During the winter, the park receives about 25 feet of snow. More than 18 miles of groomed trails are also available for snowmobilers. Snowshoeing, back-country skiing and snowboarding can also be enjoyed on other designated trail systems in the park that aren’t groomed.
6 Popular Short All-Season Trails
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.
Entrance Loop Trail
This trail is rated as moderate in difficulty and begins east of the main park entrance. Begin walking up Trail 121, as a gentle tributary of Deadman Creek guides you. Trail 121 is wide but fairly steep in some areas. Next, turn right onto trail 120 to head back down to your starting point on Trail 122. This trail is perfect for a quick family snowshoe trip.
1.5 Miles Roundtrip
Hay Ridge Trail
This trail is also rated as moderate for difficulty. You’ll start this trek at the Lower Mount Kit Carson Loop Road, also known as Loop Road, parking lot and take Loop Road west to Smith Gap. Here you can make a pit stop at the restroom or gear up at the picnic tables. Next, you should pass three storm crossings and three picnic tables. Continue on the road past Smith Gap then turn left on trail 170 as it gradually winds back to Loop Road. The main trail can be confused with three old logging roads that head left and uphill off of Trail 170 but they lead to the high point of Hay Ridge.
4.5 Miles Roundtrip
Burping Brook Loop
This trail has shorter options so it is rated as easy. Start at the 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.
3 Miles Roundtrip
Mount Kit Carson Loop Road
Despite the 7 mile trek, this loop is considered easy. It’s recommended to park one car at the Lower Loop Road parking lot and drive a second car to the Upper Loop Road trailhead using Mount Spokane Park Drive and the summit road. The road crosses a logged area with views of the north. It also passes a gated connector road that leads down to Blanchard Creek Road. More south, the road passes Day Mountain Road. Following a short climb over Smith Gap, the road descends through an old-growth forest to a lower trailhead. This is a great road for bikers.
7 Miles One Way
Mount Kit Carson Loop
This is a moderate rated trail. You’ll want to park at the Upper Kit Carson Loop Road trailhead off of the summit road. Going around the locked gate, walk down to Kit Carson Loop Road and after a short distance, take a right on a single-track trail, then an immediate left and begin downhill on trail 140. Take Trail 140 to Saddle Junction and cross Kit Carson Loop Road. Then, turn right to follow trail 160 and turn left to follow Trail 130 back to Saddle Junction. You’ll follow the Loop Road back to your starting spot.
4 Miles Roundtrip
Day Mountain Loop
This trail is a walk in the park and rated as easy. Start on Trail 140 then follow Trail 130 from Saddle Junction to the rocky open meadows of Day Mountain. The trail turns north (right) into the trees and begins downhill after you reach the largest rocky area. Follow the switchbacks down to Loop Road, take a right past the continuation of Trail 130 on the left and take Loop Road back to where you started.
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.
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 Ski & Snowboard Park
Mt Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park is operated within Mount Spokane State Park as a non-profit, community-owned organization. The ski area has been a fixture in the community for the last 90 years and will continue to be the city of Spokane’s namesake mountain. Today, Mount Spokane has one of the last volunteer ski patrols in the nation. In the winter, skiers and boarders of all levels and ages flock to the mountain to immerse themselves in the terrain of snow-heavy trees and bright blue skies. Snowshoe trails beg to be tread and blankets of fluffy white snow demand the first tracks from anyone willing to bundle up and brave the winter weather.
The stoke is real at all three different terrain parks on Mount Spokane. The main terrain park is the Half Hitch Terrain Park. It features intermediate to expert jumps, hits, rails, and more for freestylers of most levels. Half Hitch is known for using the natural terrain to give riders the opportunity to hit both rails and jumps during a lap through the park.
The terrain park begins at the top of the Half Hitch run. Mt Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park also features a natural terrain park located off of the Crash and Burn run. You can take Chair 3 to access Mount Spokane’s “Gnarwood Forest” natural terrain park. Some of the park’s features include clever uses of natural features and hits, as well as man-made natural rails and logs. If you see the Natural Park Freestyle Terrain entry sign, you’ve made it! Every shredder started somewhere, right? Mount Spokane has just the spot for all beginning shredders. Their Progression Park is located at the top of Chair 3. Once you hop off the lift head left to find smaller, progression-oriented tables, rails, and hits. Each terrain park is kept fresh with changes to the runs bi-weekly.
SkyTrac Ski Lift
Mount Spokane’s newest chairlift, Chair 6, opened on December 15th, 2018, but not all of the terrain was complete. Only 2 runs were open at the opening date, only about 30% of the new terrain. Toward the end of the season at least 80% of the runs were open for Chair 6.
The lift itself is over 4,900 feet in length, making it the longest ski lift SkyTrac has ever built to date. The expansion on Mount Spokane for Chair 6 has added 279 acres of terrain to the ski mountain making the overall ski experience so much better. The new runs have consistent intermediate fall-lines meaning, they don’t need any intrusive cat tracks that cut up the terrain. You can expect stellar skiing with long fluid runs from Chair 6 on Mount Spokane this ski season.
Mt Spokane has been an important gathering place for local Indian people for many years. The Spokane Indian 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.