Surprisingly, the amount of Spokane natives I speak to that have never visited the Deep Creek portion of Riverside State Park is high. This realization hurts my heart a bit. Located just beyond Spokane in Nine Mile Falls, is one of the most diverse corners of our state park. Equal only to the photograph-worthy landscapes is the impressive accessibility of this section. There is truly something for everyone to see and everyone to access.
My Trip to Deep Creek at Riverside State Park
Q and I recently ventured out to check on an eagle’s nest I saw last year. I hoped to catch Mom or Dad keeping watch of a young one in the nest. Parking at the main lot off Carlson Rd, we crossed the road and jumped onto a single dirt trail that starts just across the parking lot. These trails wind around a bit. However, if you stay straight and to the left, you will parallel the river and the Centennial Trail. If you start heading right, you’ll be in for a bit of a climb before looping back, but the views are great! This day, however, we had one goal, so straight forward we went. It happened to be springtime when we went, and the arrowleaf balsamroot lined our 2-mile path to the top. Tough to look at, right?
As you can see, we did get lucky that day, and the quick trip included the added bonus of a great look at this bald eagle perched by the nest.
After quietly snapping a few photos, we headed back down towards the river so Q could go for a quick wade in the water. We then looped back onto the Centennial Trail to head home.
The Centennial Trail
By 10am, the trail was buzzing with bicyclists and fellow dog walkers like myself. Q enjoys watching people, so I looped back this way for him to get some social time in. By social time, I mean my adolescent Ridgeback acted a bit like a child on a sugar rush. However, exposure is the key they say, and who am I to argue the experts. I certainly appreciate all the tolerant people we encounter while Q and I work through this seemingly endless, adolescent phase.
All in all, we spent 2 hours and 4 miles trekking in the woods that day. A great day but only the tip of the iceberg on what this place has to offer.
Frequently I’ll bring my six-year-old down here to play in the pooled water of the creek, watch for wildlife, and ride his bike on the trail. This portion, tucked away from the Spokane River in an old creek bed, looks a bit like you’re walking into a hidden world. The landscape is extremely diverse from everything above. Many people ride by this area and never know the secrets it holds.
It might be the only part of the park that, in one hour, you can find yourself walking on rocks that look like they belong on Mars, weaving through thick deciduous trees, splashing in the water, playing in the sand, and sitting beneath towering pines. All of this is accessible for every comfort level.
I think my favorite thing about this magical spot is how easy it is to carve out your own space with your kids or your dog to just let the world go by. There are varying degrees of accessibility and numerous photo-worthy sites along the way. Making this is a go-to stop to explore with my rambunctious 75# puppy. Bonus, it’s kid-approved as well.
Now the Details
- Discover Pass is required as this is part of Riverside State Park
- When your hiking with your pup, remember leashes are required
- …and don’t be that person.
- Poop happens, pack a bag.
- To get here, take 291 to Nine Mile Falls, left on Charles, then left on Carlson after the bridge.
Did you know I have a whole series of posts about getting outdoors in the Northwest? Everything is reviewed for being dog friendly too! Because I believe life is better with a dog by your side and dirt under your feet. Check out more from Tails and Trail here.
Have you gone to this portion of the park? Let me know what you think in the comments or drop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org