Out of the many things that Spokane Washington has to offer, its natural beauty is one of its greatest. Situated in the heart of the northwest, Spokane boasts the convenience of urban living while offering the freedom of gorgeous parks, forests, and other outdoor opportunities within driving distance. Whether you prefer to merely observe nature or are an experienced outdoorsman, Spokane’s diverse landscape has something for everyone through its beautiful variety of parks.
The best known of Spokane’s parks, Manito Park and Botanical Gardens encompasses 90 acres on the South Hill of Spokane. It has five impeccably groomed gardens including Rose Hill with over 1,500 kinds of rose bushes. There is also the Nishinomiya Japanese garden, named after Spokane’s sister city, with a koi pond, bridges, and benches making it the perfect place for relaxation and quiet. Manito also has a large green house, a stone bridge, and various kinds of wildlife such as ducks, geese, and swans.
The John A. Finch Arboretum-
Located close to downtown, the John A. Finch Arboretum offers 65 treed acres of woodland. The tree garden contains over 2000 labeled varieties of ornamental trees, shrubs, and flowers. Founded in 1949, the arboretum is considered one of the most peaceful places in the city, housing over 600 species of plant life.
The Little Spokane Natural Area-
Remaining virtually untouched over the last several hundred years, this area surrounding the Little Spokane River is perfect for floating, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking. Enjoy the serenity of the untouched landscape and travel back in time through the Indian pictographs that cover the rock walls of the area.
Mt. Spokane State Park-
Mt. Spokane, known for its skiing and snowboarding opportunities, is also a part of the largest state park in Washington at 13,919 acres. During the winter months, the park offers snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails and June through October there are a myriad of hiking trails that lead all over the 5,889 foot tall mountain.
A popular natural climbing place since the early 1950’s, Minnehaha’s granite boulders offer surfaces that range from novice to advanced for any level of climber. Surrounded by trails as well, Minnehaha offers opportunities for anyone seeking an adrenaline rush whether it’s through mountain biking or seeing what the view looks like from up high.
Riverside State Park-
At 10,000 acres, Riverside State Park is the second largest park in the state, occupying over 15 square miles. At the Bowl and Pitcher there are large Basalt formations, telling of Spokane’s geological past. This park is the perfect place to hike, camp, or picnic, located just 20 minutes from downtown Spokane.
The Spokane River Gorge-
This roaring white water offers an escape from urban life without having to leave Spokane. The 111 miles of the Spokane River brings life everywhere it goes, though the shores of the Spokane River Gorge offer solace to all of Spokane’s residents. Whether you want to admire its beauty or enjoy its whitewater rafting park, the Spokane River Gorge enriches the city year round.
Take some time this spring to get out and explore some of the amazing natural beauty that Spokane has to offer. Whether you only have a few hours to read in Manito’s Japanese garden or can take a whole day with the family to explore some of the hiking trails in Mt. Spokane State Park, engage with your surroundings and deepen your appreciation for all this part of the northwest has to offer!