Spokane River Centennial Trail


The city of Spokane, Washington is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with the Spokane River winding through the city.  According to SpokaneCentennialTrail.org, “Archaeological research reveals the presence of human life along the Spokane River corridor dating back some 11,400 years. The river has served as a vital source of food, transport, power, irrigation, and religious significance to people representing numerous American Indian tribes and generations of western pioneers. In the early 1900′s the Olmstead Brothers, who were among the nation’s leading park and recreation planners, advised the City of Spokane to make the Spokane River the centerpiece of their comprehensive park development plan.”

In 1974 Spokane held the world’s fair (Expo ’74). This event transformed downtown Spokane restored the river front’s openness and public access. Recently River Front Park celebrated the anniversary of Expo ’74.

River Front Park

In 1979, the Spokane County parks proposed a pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists stretching along the river in down town Spokane to the Idaho state line.  In 1986, they proposed a 10.5 mile trail to be built in conjunction with the Washington Centennial in 1989.  After generous donations and years of construction the Centennial Trail was completed in 1992.

Today this 37 mile paved trail is used for alternate transportation and recreation.  Last weekend the Talbert Zoo went out for a walk on the Centennial Trail. 

We started along the trail near Gonzaga University and walked down to River Front Park.  The trail follows the Spokane River.  Due to the melting snow pack from Mount Spokane the river levels were pretty high and swimming is discouraged this time of year.

The Spokane River is home to hundreds of wildlife and fish.  We saw ducks, geese and muskrats.  Usually muskrats are seen swimming in the water, but we witnessed them poking their heads out of the bushes and darting along the trail.

A Muskrat along the Spokane River

The trail ended at River Front Park and the kids played.  Riverfront Park is a public park in downtown Spokane, Washington. The 100 acre park is located along the Spokane River containing the upper Spokane Falls and just upstream from the lower falls. It was created for Expo ’74, a World’s Fair event (source:wikipedia.org). The kids played on the big red wagon and climbed on the letter blocks.

Where is your favorite place to walk, hike, bike or run?

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