Ten must-do Spokane River activities

A tributary of the mighty Columbia River, the Spokane River spans 111 miles, flows through varied and often spectacular terrain – rural, urban, and wild – from Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to the Columbia River at Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake in Washington. The river is home to rainbow trout, kokanee, walleye, perch, smallmouth bass, and other native and non-native species.

  1. Falls Park
    Located in Falls Park, Idaho, this pretty 22-acre park has three covered shelters, wheelchair-accessible paved pathways, historical interpretive signs, picnic shelters, restrooms, a playground, and lookout decks offering spectacular scenic views of the Avista Dam and gorge. A highlight of the park is the small fishing pond that enables anglers and children with special needs to enjoy the sport from a fishing bridge, shore, or fishing platforms.


  2. Trailer Park Wave

    Located immediately downstream from Post Falls Dam, this popular play area for whitewater enthusiasts is owned and maintained by Avista. When water levels from the dam are lower, this is an ideal place for intermediate and advanced paddlers to develop skills, while at higher water levels, more advanced tricks including loops are possible.

  3. The Islands Centennial Trailhead

    Incredible vistas and safe navigation await hiking enthusiasts along the entire Spokane River Centennial Trail span. Located in Spokane Valley, this is a good starting point for hikes. While rather steep, the river bank is surmountable, so it’s possible to launch kayaks or canoes. The beautiful shallow cove on the south river shore is a favorite swimming spot for families. This trailhead also offers views of beautiful rock formations and a tranquil place to fish and picnic.

  4. Riverfront Park

    Created for Expo 74 World's Fair, this 100-acre park boasts one of the best urban falls in the nation. Kids especially love the interactive fountain during summer months. Open greens, a lush canopy, and paved trails offer plenty of space to bike and walk. Popular attractions include the 1909 Loof Carousel and the giant Clock Tower – a remnant of Spokane’s industrialized history and rail terminal that was demolished for Expo 74. The lower drop of the Spokane Falls is the most dramatic, with excellent viewing areas encompassing downtown and the stunning falls. Additional activities include the Numerica SkyRide, outdoor winter Skate Ribbon, and the completely renovated Pavilion that features a wide array of concerts.

  5. People’s Park

    Located near downtown Spokane, people have enjoyed this idyllic place that separates the Spokane River from the downstream reach of Latah Creek (also known as Hangman Creek) for thousands of years. Covered with grasses, wild rose, serviceberry, currant, Oregon grape, and masses of willows along the creek’s edge, this park features a network of old roadways and braiding trails. If you’re a nature lover, keep an eye out for porcupines, beaver dams, deer, bald eagles, and many varieties of birds and waterfowl. Follow in the footsteps of the Spokane tribe as you enjoy the beauty of nature.

  6. Bowl & Pitcher Overlook and Trail

    This unique spot at the heart of the Spokane River gorge includes a short but spectacular hike. The impressive swinging bridge offers views of the bowl and pitcher-shaped basalt structures rising out of the river as you cross into Riverside State Park. Heading downstream, you'll see rapids and a basalt bench with views of the river. Choosing the upstream path offers a closer look at the basalt formations in and near the river. This part of the river is also known for its class V whitewater.

  7. Nine Miles Falls Dam

    Purchased in 1925 by Avista from a local railroad, this dam is 16 miles from downtown Spokane. It remains one of the best-preserved older hydroelectric plants and one of the most significant remaining properties connected with interurban rail history in the state. The dam, powerhouse, family cottages, a 30,000-gallon metal water tank (believed to date from the 1920s) and a one-story gabled storehouse were designated a National Historic Place in 1990.Today, kayakers and other water and hiking enthusiasts enjoy the impressive surroundings.

  8. Nine Mile Recreation Area

    Owned by Avista, this recreation area is located on Lake Spokane off of Charles Road in Nine Miles Falls. The 16-acre park offers picnicking, fishing, a boat ramp and two docks, paddle boarding, and a swimming beach. Note: No lifeguards are on duty so swimming is at your own risk.

  9. Lake Spokane Campground

    Located about nine miles from Spokane in Riverside State Park, this campground provides recreational opportunities for nearly every type of visitor. In addition to camping, this “hidden gem” has two boat ramps, picnicking, excellent trout fishing, a network of hiking trails, and swimming. Note: No lifeguards are on duty so swimming is at your own risk.

  10. Long Lake Dam Overlook

    About 26 miles from Spokane, this overlook provides great views of the dam and powerhouse, as well as the lake above and the river below. Built in 1915 at 213-feet high, Long Lake Dam was designated a National Historic Place in 1988. The best time to see the power of this dam is in the spring when the river's flow is at its greatest. Birdwatchers will delight in the ospreys nest on the nearby power poles. Note: This site isn’t handicap accessible because you must walk down several steps from the parking area to arrive at the viewing area.

We hope you take advantage and visit some of the many natural wonders along the Spokane River. Please be careful when you’re above and below a dam. Obey all posted warnings and closure signs and never cross the boater safety cable above a dam.

Visit myavista.com/clarkforkrivermap and myavista.com/spokanerivermap for more ideas planning your trip down one of our local rivers.

Learn more


  1. Recreation
  2. Rivers
  3. Summer