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13 Breathtaking Hikes Near Spokane: How to See the Best Trails

Looking for the best hikes near Spokane?  We’ve got you covered!  Spokane is a city surrounded by evergreen trees and breathtaking natural landscapes. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’re in the right place.

Kendall and I have been lucky enough to call Washington state our home for the past year and a half and the hiking opportunities here are truly remarkable.

In this post, we’ll guide you through some of the best hikes near Spokane, showcasing the beauty of this lesser-known area.

narrow trail winding through the greenery along a Riverside park trail in Spokane
The greenery is incredible in May and June

Why Hiking in Spokane is So Awesome

Beautiful Pine Trees Everywhere

Spokane is a city nestled among jaw-dropping swaths of pine trees; this is my favorite part of living here. We love that the hiking is so nearby and that it’s one of the most inexpensive ways to enjoy Spokane.

The city has such a large network of hiking and biking trails in places like Riverside State Park or Beacon Hill Bike Park, and you’ll find tons of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature.

From the picturesque Centennial trail to the peaceful Dishman Hills area, there’s something for every outdoor enthusiast.

Fewer Crowds

Unlike some popular hiking destinations, Spokane’s trails remain relatively uncrowded, which we love.  Except for a few weekends in the summer, you can head out without worrying about sharing the trail with hordes of other hikers.

We grew up near the Wasatch Range and many of the best day hikes in Utah are SO steep. We love that Spokane has more easy/moderate options. These are great for families or for Kendall and me when we just want something less intense.

Tons of Wildlife

Apart from our 2-day trip to Banff National Park, and the hordes of monkeys I saw in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica, Spokane has been the place where I’ve seen more wildlife than anywhere else. I’ve seen everything from moose to deer, and even (what I’m pretty sure) was a wolf.

Difficulty Levels and Trail Conditions

The hikes near Spokane cater to all skill levels, there truly is something for everyone.  For example, The Bowl and Pitcher Loop Trail is an excellent choice for families or those seeking a more leisurely stroll. This easy 2-mile loop meanders along the Spokane River, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding pines.

For a moderate challenge, the Iller Creek Conservation Area provides a 6-mile loop through lush forests and rocky outcrops. The trail features a gradual elevation gain, rewarding hikers with panoramic vistas of the Spokane Valley.

For experienced hikers looking for a more strenuous adventure, the Mount Kit Carson Trail is fantastic. This 6-mile out-and-back takes you to the summit of this peak located near Mount Spokane, where you can marvel at the sweeping views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

The Discover Pass: What You Need to Know

First things first: The Discover Pass is a must-have for exploring the trails in Washington State.  Not all the trails require it, but many of them do (especially in Riverside State Park), so it really is a must-have. 

The Discover Pass provides unlimited access to millions of acres of state-managed lands across Washington. Also, by purchasing a Discover Pass, you are supporting the preservation and conservation of these public lands for future generations to enjoy.

front view of the annual discover pass ticket to hang in your vehicle
This is the year pass, valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.

How to Purchase the Discover Pass

There are several ways you can purchase your Discover Pass:

  • Online: Visit the official website and easily purchase your pass online.  This is what Kendall and I do.  When purchasing a year pass online, you will immediately be emailed a temporary pass that you can print and put in your vehicle until your laminated year pass arrives in the mail (takes 1-2 weeks). 
  • In Person: Head to one of the nearly 600 recreational license vendors where state fishing and hunting licenses are sold.
  • By Phone: Call 866-320-9933 to purchase your pass over the phone.
  • Vehicle License Renewal: You can also purchase a Discover Pass when renewing your vehicle license. Your pass will be mailed by the Washington State Parks and should arrive within 7-14 business days.

Discover Pass Prices

The Discover Pass is very affordable and totally worth it, especially if you hike frequently. The price for the annual pass is $30 ($35 with transaction and dealer fees if purchased at a license vendor, by phone, or online), and a one-day pass is available for $10 ($11.50 with transaction and dealer fees).

Free Days (No Discover Pass Required)

Take advantage of these free days when no Discover Pass is required! These days include special occasions such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Earth Day, National Public Lands Day, and more. Visit the official Discover Pass website to see a full list of free days. Please note that free days apply only to day use and not overnight stays or rented facilities.

Best Hikes Near Spokane

So let’s dive right into our list of best hikes near Spokane!  We’ve included a range of difficulty levels, something to suit every hiker.

1. Bowl and Pitcher Loop Trail

  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 125 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Type: Loop

Our first recommended hike near Spokane is the Bowl and Pitcher Loop Trail. This 2.0-mile loop trail is an easy route suitable for hikers of all skill levels (great for families).

Located in Riverside State Park, this trail offers a unique opportunity to witness various rock formations and provides beautiful overlooks of the river. The trail is partially paved and well-maintained.  We saw some horse poop last time we hiked it, so watch your step!

overview of the Spokane river, surrounded by a sea of pine trees
Overlook of the Spokane River within Riverside State Park

2. Liberty Creek and Edith Hansen Loop – Liberty Lake Regional Park

  • Distance: 8.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1348 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Loop

Located in Liberty Lake Regional Park, this trail is popular for backpacking, hiking, and horseback riding (again, watch out for horse poop). As you follow the creek, you’ll see multiple small waterfalls. 

The overhead views of the pines are spectacular, making this one of my all-time favorites.  We’ve also seen wildlife (including moose) multiple times on this trail, so keep your eyes peeled.  Please note that Liberty Lake Regional Park charges a small entrance fee ($2 per person).

a mother and baby moose, can be seen on many of the hikes near spokane

3. Iller Creek Conservation Area Trail – Dishman Hills Natural Area

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1250 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Loop

At Dishman Hills Natural Area, the Iller Creek Conservation Area Trail offers this great 5-mile loop with stunning views of Spokane and Spokane Valley.  This hike is especially spectacular in the fall with the changing leaves. 

While the trail is challenging, it is not excessively difficult, making it a great option for most hikers. Note: there are “THERE ARE BEARS HERE” signs, so be aware, although we have never seen any bears.

bright red leaves on a tree with a backdrop of pine trees
Brilliant Fall Colors on the Iller Creek Trail

4. Rocks of Sharon Trail – Dishman Hills Natural Area

  • Distance: 6.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1740 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Loop

This is another hike located in the Dishman Hills Natural Area to the South of Spokane Valley. The Rocks of Sharon Trail is a 6.6-mile loop that takes you through a conservation area with cool rock formations, views of the Palouse, and glimpses of Spokane Valley. Don’t forget your camera for this one. 

5. Trail 121: Waterfall Loop – Palisades Park Area

  • Distance: 0.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 120 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Type: Loop

If you’re looking for a shorter, family-friendly hike, the Trail 121: Waterfall Loop in the Palisades Park area is perfect for you. This easy trail is only 0.9 miles but has a lovely waterfall at the end.

Be prepared for some stream crossings on rocks and logs, so hiking shoes are recommended. Keep an eye out for wildlife and don’t forget your bug spray (there were quite a few mosquitos when I went in June).  

yellow wildflowers among green foliage
The wildflowers on this one are beautiful in the Spring

6. Knothead Valley Loop – Riverside State Park

  • Distance: 6.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Loop

Located in Riverside State Park, the Knothead Valley Loop is a 6.6-mile route through different landscapes (there are portions through the pines and then beautiful open-field areas). Please note that dogs are not allowed on this trail and that you will need your Discover Pass (almost all the Riverside State Park hikes require it). 

This trail has some switchbacks and steeper climbs, with awesome overlooks at the top, very well worth the effort. Keep your eyes open for deer, moose, and even bald eagles along the way.

Snowshoeing in Riverside is one of my favorite things to do in Spokane in the winter; don’t let the cold keep you from getting out!

mist among the pine trees and snow on the ground in Riverside State Park in the winter
The pines along the Knothead Valley Loop are gorgeous in the winter as well

7. Antoine Peak via Emerald Necklace

  • Location: Antoine Peak Conservation Area 
  • Distance: 4.5 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 900 feet 
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Loop

The Antoine Peak hike via Emerald Necklace is a hidden gem that has more great pine tree views without an overly strenuous climb. I especially love doing this one in the winter (the snow-covered trees are gorgeous). 

We recommend hiking this trail in a counter-clockwise direction for a more gradual ascent and interesting route. Don’t forget to bring your furry friend along, as leashed dogs are welcome!

8. Dishman Hills Natural Area Trail

  • Distance: 3.9 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 550 feet 
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Loop

This is another of my favorites in the Dishman Hills area. This 3.9-mile trail is the perfect blend of accessibility and natural beauty.  This one is fairly easy (great for kids), and if you go at the right time of year you’ll find all sorts of interesting mushrooms along the trail.

The trail is fairly close to the highway, but it doesn’t seem that way.  The trail is well-marked with symbols on the trees, and there are various branching routes.

9. Deep Creek Loop Trail

  • Location: Riverside State Park 
  • Distance: 5.5 miles 
  • Elevation Gain:  845 feet 
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Loop

This is another great trail with not too much elevation gain, lots of bang for your buck.  You can access the trailhead in a few different places, either up north at the Carlson Trailhead or at Pine Bluff Trailhead further south (parking is available at both locations).

This trail is a mix of paved and unpaved, and you’ll walk through some interesting rock gardens.  This is another trail I’ve seen plenty of wildlife on, so be aware.  And remember that you need a Discover Pass for this one.

small grey rabbit against the snowy ground
Cute bunny I saw while hiking during the winter

10. Centennial Trail West

  • Location: Riverside State Park 
  • Distance: 5.8 miles 
  • Elevation Gain:  334 feet 
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Type: Out and Back

This trail is paved and is a 5.8-mile stretch of the Centennial Trail that starts at Wilber Trailhead at Nine Mile Falls and follows the Spokane River up to the Bowl and Pitcher overlook area.  This is a great one for biking (road or mountain) as well as hiking.

Remember: this one requires a Discover Pass as well.  Also, we love that there are clean vault toilets at Mile 31 and Wilber Rd Trailhead.

two people posing above the Spokane river having biked along the Centennial Trail
Kendall and I biked this one; this is our view over the Spokane River

11. Mount Kit Carson Trail: For Those Who Want A Challenge

  • Location: Mount Spokane State Park
  • Distance: 5.9 miles 
  • Elevation Gain:  1380 feet 
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Type: Out and Back

Located near Colbert, Washington, the Kit Carson Trail is a harder climb with awesome views of rolling hills of pine trees.  This is another one that is fantastic in the winter.  I love to bring my snowshoes when the snow is deep. 

Just plug in ‘Lower Kit Carson Parking’ into Google Maps (there was plenty of parking when I went).  Dogs are allowed, but they have to be on a leash. 

snow-covered trail through the pine trees on Mt Kit Carson trail
This is a great snowshoeing hike during the winter

12. Indian Painted Rocks Nature Trail

  • Location: Riverside State Park
  • Distance: 3.3 miles 
  • Elevation Gain:  220 feet 
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Type: Out and Back

This is another easy hike in Riverside State Park; It’s only 3.3 miles with 220 feet of elevation change and is perfect for leisurely hikers.  You’ll have great views of Little Spokane River and the surrounding cliffs. 

Dogs are not allowed on this particular trail.  Be aware of wildlife (we’ve heard there are occasionally rattlesnakes on this trail), and this is another one to be sure to have bug spray (there are mosquitos during the summer).   

13. Cedar Grove via Liberty Creek Trail

  • Location: Liberty Lake Regional Park
  • Distance: 4.7 miles 
  • Elevation Gain:  475 feet 
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Out and Back

The Cedar Grove via Liberty Creek Trail is another fantastic route that winds through beautiful pine trees.  This is another hike where you can see some cool mushrooms and other plants, and we love the beautiful wooden bridges. 

Located in Liberty Lake Regional Park near Liberty Lake, this trail is 4.8 miles long and has a fairly minimal elevation gain.  Bears and moose have been seen here, so keep that in mind.  

Safety Tips for Hiking Near Spokane

While hiking near Spokane is a rewarding experience, it is important to prioritize safety. Here are some essential tips that we always recommend:

  • Plan ahead: Download the trail map before heading out (I use Alltrails). Let someone know your hiking plans, and when you will be back.
  • Stay on the trail: This one is important!  Straying off the designated trail can lead to accidents or damage the surrounding plant life. Follow the markers and signs, please.
  • Pack the essentials: Carry a backpack with water, snacks, a first aid kit, a map, a compass, and a headlamp. Dress in layers, especially if hiking during the winter.
  • Be aware of wildlife: Respect the wildlife and keep a safe distance. Do not feed or approach animals; this is dangerous.
  • Leave no trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by carrying out all your trash

Essential Gear and Supplies for Hiking

Here is a checklist of what we pack before hitting the trails (Note: every single one of these items is something I also pack when traveling internationally).

  • Sturdy hiking boots: Invest in a pair of comfortable and supportive hiking boots to protect your feet and ankles.  I highly recommend Colombia Newton Ridge Plus boots.  I’ve used these on our Inca Trail Trek to Peru, our rim-to-rim Grand Canyon hike, and others. 
  • Good hiking pants or leggings. While you can get away with hiking in jeans on some of the shorter/easier hikes, we recommend investing in a pair of moisture-wicking pants.
  • Backpack: Choose a backpack with enough space to carry everything you need, like water, snacks, extra clothing layers, and a first aid kit.
  • Water bottle 
  • Map and compass: Even if you are using a GPS device, it is important to carry a map and compass as backup.  I always download my maps from Alltrails and keep a backup compass with me. 
  • Rain gear: The weather in the Pacific Northwest can be unpredictable.  I always throw a rain poncho in my bag, and a waterproof jacket if the weather is chilly.
  • Sun protection: Wear a hat, and sunglasses, and be sure to use sunscreen.
  • Snacks and meals: Pack lightweight, energy-rich snacks such as trail mix, energy bars, and fresh fruits.

Best Times to Go Hiking Near Spokane

Spokane’s hiking trails are awesome throughout the entire year, but each season has its pros and cons.

  • Spring: Spring brings vibrant wildflowers and cascading waterfalls to the trails near Spokane. It is an ideal time to witness the renewal of nature and enjoy cooler temperatures. However, some trails may be muddy due to melting snow.
  • Summer: Summer offers longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures, making it perfect for longer hikes and overnight camping. Be prepared for crowds, especially on popular trails.
  • Fall: Fall is a magical time to hike near Spokane, as the forests transform into a kaleidoscope of colors. The weather is mild, and trails are less crowded. However, be aware of changing weather conditions and potential early snowfall at higher elevations.
  • Winter: Winter hiking near Spokane is a unique experience, with snow-covered landscapes and peaceful solitude. However, it requires additional preparation, including proper winter gear, knowledge of avalanche safety, and familiarity with trail conditions.
overlooking view of snow-covered pine trees and a bridge over the Spokane river
Winter hiking in Riverside State Park

Best Hikes Near Spokane: Key Takeaways

Spokane truly has something for everyone.  Whether you are looking for an easy walk with kids, an uphill challenge, or want to see some great wildlife, these beautiful trails near Spokane will have something for you. 

Best easy hike for families: Waterfall Loop in Palisades Park

Best challenging hike: Mount Kit Carson Trail

Best for overhead views: Bowl and Pitcher Loop

Spokane is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts, offering so many opportunities to see the area’s natural beauty and tranquility. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, the trails near Spokane will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Remember to respect the environment, follow Leave No Trace principles, and enjoy the serenity of nature that surrounds you. Happy hiking!

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