By Penny Fox
Located in Nine Mile Falls in the Eastern Rocky Mountain Region of Washington, Riverside State Park is an outdoor lover’s dream come true year round. The largest state park in Washington, Riverside is a true gem. From picturesque hiking trails, to historic sites, to cozy overnight accommodations, here are the best things to do in and around Riverside State Park!
Known as the largest state park in the state, visitors will have plenty to do in this 10,000-acre recreational wonderland. Rich in diverse landscapes, there are more than 37 miles of hiking and running trails along the Centennial Trail, 55 miles of biking trails, great terrain for rock climbing near Deep Creek Canyon, and 40 miles of trails available for weekend horseback riding every season except winter. There’s even a unique 600-acre ORV area for dirt bikes and snowmobiles that’s open every day from 6:30 a.m. to dusk and 8 a.m. to dusk in the winter. Besides snowmobiling, snowshoeing and skiing are popular activities in the winter.
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Riverside State Park has numerous natural areas like Nine Mile Recreational Area and freshwater marshes, rivers, lakes, and some of the most beautiful scenic areas in the region making it home to an abundance of wildlife and plants. For those who enjoy birding, there are active eagle and osprey nesting areas, and opportunity for photography. Nine Mile Recreational Area is open mid-May to mid-September and offers opportunities for picnicking, swimming, fishing, canoeing, rafts, and kayaking on Lake Spokane. There are two docks and a boat ramp for launching boats.
The Spokane House Interpretive Center was the first permanent white settlement in the state, and provides demonstrations and exhibits about the early fur trade and Native Americans in the area. Visitors can use any of the 10 sheltered and 122 unsheltered the first-come, first-serve picnic shelters in the park, or reserve the kitchen shelter for a group up to 50 people.
Make sure to stop by the kiosk at Seven Mile Camp to learn about the role of the Civilian Conservation Corps in building the park in the 1930s. The CCC was responsible for building bridges, fire lookout towers, service buildings, and marking trails in areas that were or would become state and national parks throughout the U.S.
Eagle’s Nest Expresso is a great place to stop and pick up a great cup of coffee for an energy boost. Fast friendly service with a smile is what awaits you, and they serve breakfast and lunch. Great for adults and kids, they have indoor and outdoor seating if you want to sit and enjoy your beverage and food.
This quaint and charming bed and breakfast invites guests to “wake up to the aroma of your favorite homemade baked goods.” Now that sounds good to us! If you’re looking for an overnight accommodation after your long day spent exploring Riverside, head to the River House Bed & Breakfast. The home is situated on 5.5 private acres with area activities including kayaking and fishing to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.