1. Find treasure
Bring your metal detector to the mountain and search for buried treasure. See map for certain locations you can detect, and all detectors need to fill out an application at the State Park office.
2. Clean up
The spring melt reveals beautiful waterfalls, wildflowers, and… litter. From the ski runs to the roads, pick up garbage if you happen to see it. You may even find treasures. And remember in all seasons to pack it in and pack it out to keep your mountain clean.
3. Horseback ride
Bring the horses up to the Switchback parking lot or Snowmobile parking lot and enjoy 100 miles of beautiful trails over and around the mountain. If you don’t own horses, several organizations in Spokane provide guided tours. For more info go to www.mountspokane.org
4. Discover history
History is abundant all over the mountain! Parts of one of the original rope tows, built on Mt. Spokane in the 1930s, can still be seen near the summit towers. Cook’s Cabin and the Vista House, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, can be easily accessed by a short hike. Keep reading for even more history on the mountain.
5. Revisit ruins
Did you know the original Mt. Spokane Lodge was an enormous, grand lodge which served skiers on the mountain through the 1940s and early 50s? It burnt down in 1952. You can find the original foundation for this lodge near Cook’s Cabin.
6. Get purple fingers
If you’ve never picked your own huckleberries, you’re missing out! The delicious purple berries are in season on the mountain from mid-July through mid-August, and they’re plentiful. Park your car anywhere except within our gated main lodge area, hike a short distance, and you’re sure to find them.
7. Spot wildlife
Wildlife are plentiful in Mt. Spokane State Park! Moose, bear, deer, birds, marmots, and more call the mountain home. Just remember to quietly observe and always keep a safe distance from ANY critters.
8. Take a Mt. Spokane selfie
Speaking of wildlife, have you ever taken your pic with a marmot? Share your summer selfie pics on the mountain by tagging @mtspokane or #shredthekan on Instagram, or posting to Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park’s Facebook wall.
9. View seven lakes at once
There are “telescopes” at the summit of the mountain which point to every lake in sight. Each telescope is labeled with the lake it’s pointed at. See all the way from Lake Pend O’Reille and Lake Coeur d’Alene to Eloika Lake on the Washington side.
10. Bike around the mountain
The snowmobile trails in the wintertime are also easy biking roads in the summer! Park at the snowmobile parking lot and ride all the way around the mountain.
Find the United States Geological Survey’s Summit Marker at the summit of Mt. Spokane, near the Vista House at 5,883 feet. Check out some other geocaching activities in Mt. Spokane State Park.
12. Drive to the Top
Did you know you can drive all the way to the summit of Mt. Spokane? Grab the family for a Sunday drive. The Summit Road typically opens in mid-June after the last of the snow has cleared. It usually closes mid-October so don’t wait! Drive slow and safe on the narrow road.
13. Picnic at the Vista House
Once on top of the mountain, visit the historic Vista House and enjoy views to Idaho, Montana, Canada, and eastern Washington. Bring lunch and enjoy a picnic on the patio. The Vista House is open to the public throughout the summer months.
14. Mountain bike trails
Downhill mountain bike trails are plentiful in the State Park. Fire roads make easy family or beginner routes. Many opt to shuttle bikes up to the summit via vehicle, then ride down for more laps. Visit local bike shops for trail info, meetup and shuttle times.
15. Spend the night in a Fire Lookout: DUE TO COVID-19 CAMPING IS CLOSED FOR THE SUMMER.
Hike to Quartz Mountain and spend a memorable night in the fire lookout perched on top, with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The lookout sleeps four comfortably, but reservations are required and dates fill up fast.
16. Camp at Bald Knob: CLOSED FOR THE SUMMER OF 2020
The Bald Knob campground in the State Park has 8 campsites and an established restroom. It also features a beautiful meeting area with woodfire grill and views into Idaho. All sites are first-come, first-served. Got to washington.goingtocamp.com
17. Stand at the highest point in Spokane County
From the summit at 5,883 feet, you can view the largest State Park in Washington, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Steptoe Butte to the south, and the foothills of Glacier National Park and the Cabinet Mountains in Montana.
18. Picnic next to a bubbling creek
Soon after turning onto the Summit Road is a small turnout with picnic tables and a small creek. Enjoy lunch at the picnic spot, then follow the trails out to B-29 ski run and the Lost Woods.
19. Get married: TAKING RESERVATIONS FOR SUMMER 2021
Give your guests a mountain experience of a lifetime! Ride the lift to the top for a small wedding at the summit Vista House and come back down with a breathtaking view to one of our lodges for your reception of any size. Contact email@example.com for more information.
20. View sunset from the top
After the sun sets on Spokane you can still enjoy the warm sun from the summit of the mountain. Pull up a rock to sit on, grab your camera, and wait for spectacular sunset colors to appear. Sunsets from the summit are unmatched in brilliance!
21. Hike. Everywhere
All 13,919 acres of the State Park are open to hikers! Access hiking trails from the entrance area, switchback or Lower Loop Road trailhead, snowmobile lot trailhead, Upper Loop Road trailhead, Bald Knob campground, and the Summit.
22. Exercise the dogs
Canine companions are welcome in Mt. Spokane State Park! They must remain on-leash so as not to disturb local flora and fauna. Also, please remember to always pick up after your pet!
23. Dip your toes in alpine creeks
Creeks abound in Mt. Spokane State Park. Deadman Creek is the larger creek that flows downhill next to Mt. Spokane Park Drive. You may even find snow near the summit in early summer months.
24. Find the location of Cook’s Cabin.
Francis Cook, the “father” of Mt. Spokane State Park, built Cook’s Cabin in the new park in 1933, near the original rope tow. Skiers used the cabin as a day lodge until the early 1950s. Park in the lot near the cell towers and follow the road west to find the cabin.
25. Check out the world’s first double chairlift
The world’s first double chairlift was built in 1946 in the same area as Chair 1. The lift was originally an ore carrier, converted by the Riblet Tramway Company to a double chairlift. You can see the bullwheel from this lift at the loading ramp of Chair 1.
26. Take your senior pictures
Many seniors have opted to utilize the beauty of Mt. Spokane as the backdrop to their senior photos. Others do it to show their love of the mountain. Engagement and family photo sessions also happen regularly in the summer.
27. Do your snow dance!
From experiencing history to getting exercise, summer on the mountain is all about getting ready for ski season! Snow dancing on the mountain is sure to guarantee plentiful snowfall during the coming season.
28. Hike to Mt. Kit Carson
Mount Kit Carson is the second-highest peak in Mt. Spokane State Park. Various cabins and historic structures are on this peak, or experienced along the hike. Park in Cook’s Cabin lot, then follow Trail 140, then Trail 160 to the summit.
29. Identify Mt. Spokane butterflies
The Friends of Mt. Spokane have created a butterfly guide displaying 47 different varieties of butterflies native to Mt. Spokane. Full-color photos make it easy to identify specific butterflies.
30. Make friends with a Park Ranger
Ranger Jerry is super-friendly and very knowledgeable about Mt. Spokane State Park and its history. If you ever have any questions about the park, stop by the Ranger Station at the entrance of the Park, or contact them at (509) 238-4258.
31. Support your local parks!
You’ll need a Discover Pass to park in Mt. Spokane State Park. The pass also gains you entry to Riverside State Park, and ALL of Washington’s State Parks. All proceeds are directed to improvements within the parks.
32. Earn merit badges
Bring your troop up for camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, and many more activities which earn merit badges. Talk to your local troop leader about organizing a scout trip to Mt. Spokane keeping social distancing in mind.
33. Hike to Quartz Mountain
Enjoy the 2.5-mile hike or bike along Mt. Spokane’s Nordic trails to Quartz Mountain, where one of the Park’s old fire lookouts is located. You can reserve the lookout for overnight trips – see item #16. Keep an eye out for moose!
34. Hike or bike the nordic trails
The Quartz Mountain fire lookout isn’t the only point of interest along the Nordic trails. You can also find the Selkirk Lodge and Nova Hut along the 60km of trails. You can even help Spokane Nordic Ski Association maintain and cut trails for the coming season.
35. Bike to the summit
Grab your road bike and pound those pedals all the way to the top of the mountain! It’s a really good workout, the Park Rangers do it all the time. Beware of traffic on the narrow upper road.
36. View Spokane by scenic pullout
Also known as “Cadillac Corner” by the locals, the large pullout above the switchback parking lot features spectacular views of Spokane. Bring your camera and time your visit for sunset! The pullout also features interactive learning boards.
37. Propose to that special someone
There’s nothing like the majestic beauty of a mountain environment to share moments of a lifetime with that special someone. Add beautiful venues such as the Vista House and you’ve got a sure recipe for success.
38. Experience wild flowers
From Indian Paintbrush to wild lavender to beargrass, wildflowers are abundant on the mountain, and some even begin blooming as soon as the snow disappears. Each week brings a different bloom of flowers. Visit in the fall for the most vivid colors.
39. Find some waterfalls
With over 2,000 feet of vertical and many creeks in the ski area alone, the Park has hundreds of waterfalls. Bring your camera and listen for the rushing water to find them.
40. Bird Watching
The Friends of Mt. Spokane have put together a bird watching guide featuring all the birds of Mt. Spokane State Park. Bird species include owls, several types of raptors, colorful finches, and many more.
41. Practice your photography skills
From stunning vistas and sunsets to historical buildings, wildlife, and foliage, Mt. Spokane State Park is a prime area for photography. Bring your camera and lens for different situations. You’re guaranteed no shortage of subject matter.
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