One of the crown jewels of the Washington Park system, Mount Spokane State Park is a sprawling, rugged wilderness of mountains and forests. In summer, the park is a paradise for hikers, bikers and trail riders alike, while winter brings tons of powder and opens access to world-class ski slopes.
Over 100 miles of trail sprawl across Mount Spokane's 13,000 acres. Jagged peaks, thick coniferous forests, rushing creeks, and wildflower-filled fields are waiting to be explored. The state park is also host to the Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, a winter sport enthusiast's paradise boasting several lifts, over fifty runs and a lovely lodge. During the winter months, the back-country also becomes a snowy playground, inviting showshoers, snowmobilers, and cross-country skiers. Whatever the time of year, and whatever your interest, you'll find no shortage of things to do or places to explore at Mount Spokane State Park.
If you're looking to spend the night, the park sports a modest, eight-site campground that sits just underneath the shadow of Mount Spokane itself. The campground is RV- and trailer-friendly, though the park recommends rigs should be under 30 feet in length. Another lodging option is the spectacularly scenic Quartz Mountain Fire Tower. A converted lookout's quarters offers a one-of-a-kind camping experience and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
If you're looking for further wilderness and adventure, Mt. Spokane is located near some of the most untamed and expansive pieces of public lands in the country. The Colville, Idaho Panhandle, and Kanisku National Forests are each just a short drive away.
Mt. Spokane is located just 45 minutes away from Spokane, Washington. However, don't let the park's proximity to a major city fool you, the area is rugged and remote, and driving with an RV or trailer can be challenging. The mountainous terrain means drivers should expect some sharp turns and steep climbs, especially if they plan on heading all the way up to the peak of Mt. Spokane itself. The park is not well-suited to very large rigs or trailers (and the campground can only accommodate vehicles up to 30 feet anyway).
Snow and ice are also hazards for much of the year. The winter season also lasts longer at higher elevations, so be on the lookout for snow or sleet even when things are warm down in the valley.
Mt. Spokane's small campground can be a tight squeeze for large rigs, but if you have a small or moderate-sized trailer or RV, parking shouldn't be much of a problem. All spots are back in, but there's ample space between spots. Because the campground is so small (sporting just eight spots), you need not worry about much congestion.
A couple trailheads leave from the campground, but to get to Mt. Spokane's peak, or some of the other hiking/skiing areas, you'll have to drive a bit. Parking is available at most trailheads and recreation areas within the park, though large rigs may be hard to accommodate.
Mt. Spokane State Park offers a humble, eight-site campground, which is available for tent campers and RV and trailer campers with small or medium-sized rigs. The campground sits on a small, partially-forested knob that is located just below Mt. Spokanne itself. Towering spruce and fir provide some shade, but there are plenty of open spots to catch some sun, too.
The sites at Bald Knob are fully primitive, with no electric, water, or sewer hookups available. There's no sanitary dump station here, so prepare accordingly. The campground does, however, have a freshwater spigot and a modern restroom. Sites all come equipped with picnic tables and fire rings.
Bald Knob offers quick access to a couple of great trails, and a short drive up a winding road will take your right to the peak of Mt. Spokane (along with additional trailheads and overlooks).
All sites at Bald Knob are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. During the busy summer season, spots can fill fast, so it's a good idea to arrive early if you can. RV and trailer travelers should note that spots at the campground are rather small and cannot accommodate any rig over 30 feet (and, in fact, several sites have smaller length caps).
For a unique and wonderful overnight experience, visitors to Mount Spokanne should consider staying in the Quartz Mountain Fire Lookout. The lookout, sitting at over 5,000 feet, and windowed on all sides, offers unparalleled views of the mountainous park and its surroundings. June can sometimes see snow still clinging to the vertiginous peaks. In July and August, expansive tracts of green burst with the colors of wildflowers. September brings crisp days and golden aspen leaves.
The lookout's amenities are rustic but charming. The space includes two beds, chairs, a table, a propane camp stove, and a few other basic kitchen and camping supplies. Outside there is a fire ring, a picnic table, and a water pump.
Reservations are necessary for the Quartz Mountain Fire Lookout, which is available from mid-June through the end of September. This gorgeous mountain perch is, unsurprisingly, quite popular, so reserving your spot well in advance is recommended.
Skiing is one of the most popular activities at Mt. Spokane, and it's not hard to see why. The Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboarding Park, set on the beautiful northern and western slopes of Mt Spokane, boasts six lifts and over 50 runs! If downhill isn't your thing, then grab your cross-country skis and head out on one of the many groomed or back-country trails the park has to offer. Sail through snow-clad forests and across valleys offering spectacular, wintry panoramas. Snowshoeing and snowmobiling are both popular too, and there are trails dedicated for each.
Every season at Mt. Spokane offers incredible photographic opportunities. Spring sees valleys flush with green while rugged peaks remain ice-capped. Summer brings wildflowers, autumn brings a change of hue to the aspen and the understory. During winter, a vibrant sunset contrasting with the snow-clad mountains and forests is truly a sight to behold. Wildlife photographers can set out to capture images of some of the park's iconic fauna, including moose, black bear, and bald eagles.
Mt. Spokane boasts over 90 miles of multi-use trails that are suitable for biking. A truly extensive network allows bikers to visit just about any corner of the park they'd like to. During the snow-free months, mountain bikers can criss-cross dense forests, climb challenging slopes and take in spectacular overlooks. With so many miles of trail, the park has something to offer everyone from beginners to experts.
When winter rolls around, fat-tire biking becomes a popular park activity. Visitors can explore a wondrous wintry landscape while getting a great workout!
Make sure to pack your binoculars and a guide book in your RV! Mt. Spokane's meadows, forests, and streams are home to dozens of bird species. The greatest diversity of species can be found during the summer when migratory species come to nest and breed in the park's food-rich habitats. Winter sees just a handful of hardy species sticking it out in the snow-clad woods.
Commonly seen species include pileated woodpeckers, northern flickers, evening grosbeaks, Pacific slope flycatchers, mountain chickadees, cedar waxwings, orange-crowned warblers, Nashville warblers, and Wilson's warblers. If you're out camping at night, you may hear one (or more) of the seven species of owls native to the park. Northern pygmy owls and great horned owls are the most common of these.
Seasoned trail-riders will find Mt. Spokane's trails challenging but incredibly rewarding. This is rugged, western riding at its finest. A full hundred miles of horse-friendly routes zig and zag across the park's mountainous landscape. Switchback up slopes, ford rivers, and cross gentle valleys as you explore some of the most dramatic landscapes eastern Washington has to offer.
If you're not traveling with horses (or, if you'd prefer to keep your horse trailer off the park's steep and winding roads), you can try to book a trail ride in the park with a private operator.
You could spend a week hiking the trails at Mt. Spokane, and you'd still only scratch the surface. Dozens of miles of trails, stretching across the park's diverse landscape, are available to day-hikers and backpackers alike. Two of the most popular trails are the Mount Kit Carson Trail and the Quartz Mountain Trail. Each is about five miles, out and back, and they both offer tremendous, panoramic views from the respective peaks the trails are named for.
If you're looking for something a bit more challenging, you can try stringing trails together into a larger loop. The Three Peaks Loop uses trails 130, 131 and 140 to create a trek that is over 15 miles long.
And if Spokane's extensive network still isn't enough, you can head to nearby Colville National Forest or Idaho Panhandle National Forest, which sit to the northwest and northeast, respectively. Each offers hundreds of more miles of trails spread across millions of acres of some of the most rugged, undeveloped country in the continental U.S.