View of Deep Creek Canyon in Riverside State Park

My Favorite Corner of Riverside State Park | Spokane, WA

May 25, 2020

View of Deep Creek Canyon in Riverside State Park

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, WA 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.

Rhodesian Ridgeback sitting looking over Riverside State Park from a lookout
View from one of the many overlooks in this section of the park.

A Recent Trip to 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 started 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 Runs Along the River

Rhodesian Ridgeback in a wildflower field Spokane Dog Photographer

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.

Child playing in the water at Deep Creek in Riverside State Park

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.

Occasionally, if you head down the creek bed, you’ll find a few people rock climbing on the massive sides.

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 or weaving through thick deciduous trees. Go further and stroll through mountain meadows, splash in the water, play in the sand, and sit 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.

Deep Creek in Riverside is one of my favorite places to take Families for Photos in Spokane

The Inland NW has some of the best Washington State Parks, and this section of Riverside along the Spokane River is a go-to favorite to take families. Walking into Deep Creek is a little bit of a walk; however, it’s paved if you’d like to push a stroller for little ones. In my opinion, the walk is worth the trade-off to have your yearly family photos in this amazing place.

Say goodbye to stuffy family photos in a manicured park. Imagine yourself running across the bridge with your kids, throwing rocks into the river, and digging in the sand at sunset. Those are family photos I’m honored to be part of.

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.
  • This section of Riverside State Park is located north of Spokane. Take 291 to Nine Mile Falls, left on Charles, then left on Carlson after the bridge going over the Spokane River.
  • Horseback riding is common in this area, so remember, we all share the trails.

Riverside State Park, Spokane Photographer

Have you gone to this portion of the park? Let me know what you think in the comments or drop me an email,

Happy Hiking!


Mt Spokane Family Photography

Life’s biggest adventures in modern photos co-crafted with you. Spokane Photographer | Serving the Pacific Northwest

Life’s biggest adventures in modern photos co-crafted with you. Spokane Photographer | Serving the Pacific Northwest

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