Vista House Mt Spokane WA

Mt Spokane State Park – All Access and Pet Friendly

August 31, 2020

Vista House Mt Spokane WA

If you’re only visiting Mt Spokane State Park in the winter for skiing and snowboarding, you are sadly missing out. This state park quietly exemplifies everything an outdoor space should be every season of the year. Late spring through the fall, though? In my opinion, that’s when it shines. Mount Spokane rates high as an All-Access and Pet-Friendly destination right out our backdoor in the Inland NW.

Over 100 miles of trails in the Selkirk Mountains means you won’t be looking at the same view twice.

Fun fact, it’s actually Mount Spokane, not Mountain Spokane. I mean it is a mountain, but it likes to go by Mount.

Vista House Mt Spokane WA
View looking out of the Vista House at the summit
Chair Lift Sunset Mt Spokane

What do I mean by “all-access”?  

Regardless of your mobility or experience level, you can find a space to carve out some time in nature. Head straight to the top, where a wheelchair-friendly paved road gives access to seemingly unending views making this accessible to everyone.  

Are you hiking with a stroller? The Lower and Upper Kit Carson Roads are flat dirt roads; you can comfortably push a jogging stroller for several miles. Stroller friendly trails are hard to find in our local trail system, but Mt Spokane has good options.

Mt Spokane State Park Kit Carson

The Weather At Mount Spokane

One of my favorite parts about heading to Mt Spokane it beating the summer heat. Spokane and all of Eastern Washington seem to be getting hotter every year. If heat isn’t your jam, head to the top where you can often except a nice 10-15 degree drop in temps. Added on to that is a mountain breeze that makes you forget about the brutal August temps.

Now this goes both ways when it comes to weather. Spring and Fall at the mountain feel much like winter for those of us below. Don’t let the chilly temps discourage you; just pack a couple of extra layers.

PRO Tip – Bring sunscreen as you burn a bit faster up there and the cooler temps can lull you into a false sense of security.

Vista House at Mt Spokane

In 1933 the iconic Vista House was built at the summit of Mt. Spokane. Sitting atop the mountain at 5900ft, you can catch panoramic views of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountain ranges. It alone is worth the trip to Mt Spokane. 

Pack a lunch and eat at one of the picnic tables at the summit while you take it all in. Just remember it’s quite windy at the top, so secure anything that might fly away when you sit down to eat. When you’re ready to wander, the house is typically unlocked for viewing, and you can stroll to the back, where there is an impressive rock bed to scramble across.

While you’re at the top, head down the road to the meadows for more great views. As the road ends, you can find a newly constructed viewing area that points out all of the lakes. I should add until they put this in place I had been pointing out a few lakes wrong for the last 20 years, whoops.

Vista House Mt Spokane WA
Inside the Vista House
Bear Grass Mt Spokane State Park Photography
Bear grass looks like it should belong in a Dr Seuss Book
Mt Spokane State Park

A Few Great Hikes for The Inner Photographer

There are so many hikes at Mt Spokane; it was hard to pick only a few. My favorite Spokane hikes all happen here.

Quartz Mountain is a must-do at least once a year. This hike is relatively easy at 4.5 miles, even though there is a bit of elevation. During the summer, I could get off work and still make the hike before dark.

For kid-friendly hikes, I start at the parking lot for the Lower Kit Carson Road and head straight in. The path is wide, and there is a creek ambling along to entertain little walkers. When I go with my son, we tend to explore without a determined destination on this trail. However, if you’re looking to plan it out, try the Centennial Snow Shoe Hut Hike off the lower kit carson loop. It’s 2.8 miles round trip and ends at a warming hut used in the winter for snowshoers.

Ready for a butt burner? Try the Three Peaks Loop. This 13.6-mile loop hits Mount Kit Carson, Day Mountain, and Mt Spokane. Be warned, I’ve somehow done this, clocking around 12 miles and other days close to 16. Look it up on AllTrails, get the map, and follow the GPS.

Dog-Friendly Rating

Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Photography
Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Photography

As a dog owner, Mt Spokane ranks high when it comes to places I love to take my four-legged best friend. Even on the busiest of weekends, there are places to get away from crowds for a hike or lunch, so I have no issues bringing a more reactive pup to the mountain.Dogs are welcome on almost all of the park trails but need to be on a leash.

Word of caution, this is also a mountain biking hub, and as such, we’ve had a few close calls with bikes zipping around corners. If you’re walking with a dog or child on the trail system, make sure to use a bit of caution when taking a blind corner.

Random Notes

  • Discover Pass is required and can be purchased at the ranger station on your way in or here online.
  • The park closes at dusk, and the road to the Vista House closes a bit earlier. Summit road closing is noted on a sign on your way up. It changes weekly, so check that out. What does this mean? Don’t go planning epic sunset photos because you’re working in a short window before the park rangers help you back to your car. It’s doable, but you’ll likely have about 10 minutes to grab a photograph before it closes.
  • Bald Knob Campground offers eight primitive campsites and bathrooms close to the summit. These are amazing, and a must-do for an after-hours Mt Spokane trip. It’s the only way to catch those night skies.

If you’ve made it up to Mt Spokane State Park, let me know what your favorite spot is below or drop me an email My favorite hiking in Spokane is here, I love sharing it with others.

For another great hiking spot in Spokane, check out my blog on a few sections of Riverside State Park – Deep Creek and the access off Government Way road.



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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