Mount Spokane State Park is one of the largest state parks in Washington and contains views of Spokane Valley, Idaho and Canada.

Camping is a wonderful way for students to get outside and have a break from busy college life. There are so many beautiful camping spots near Gonzaga that are great for anyone who wants to find a way to get outdoors this fall or winter. Here are a few of the best camping spots in and near Spokane that will allow you to take a moment to breathe and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. 

Bowl and Pitcher at Riverside State Park

The Bowl and Pitcher area is a favorite among Gonzaga students for walking, biking, fishing and camping. The Bowl and Pitcher campground is located 20 minutes away from Gonzaga and is a part of Riverside State Park. Bowl and Pitcher is great for camping year round, and shows off Spokane’s gorgeous fall colors during this time of year as well as stunning snowy views as we transition into colder weather. The campground at Bowl and Pitcher has over 30 campsites and has sites accessible for RV’s as well as tent campers. 

Mount Spokane State Park

Mount Spokane State Park is one of the largest state parks in Washington and contains stunning views of Spokane Valley, North Idaho and even Canada. The campground at Mount Spokane has eight campsites, and you can hike up to the Quartz Mountain Fire Tower lookout or the historic Vista House to see the beautiful views of Mount Spokane. There are three summits to hike at Mount Spokane State Park, including Kit Carson, Day Mountain and Mount Spokane itself. Although it may be cold this time of year, Mount Spokane has gorgeous autumn scenery and vibrant fall colors and the mountain during snowy weather is breathtaking.

 “I love fall/winter camping because there are fewer crowds and bugs,” Kacie Bell, student director for GU Outdoors said. Kacie encourages Gonzaga students to check the weather before camping this time of year and pack accordingly for their trip. 

Nine Mile Recreation Area at Riverside State Park

Nine Mile Recreation area is part of Riverside State Park and is located 30 minutes north of GU. Nine Mile Recreation Area is located on the Spokane River and displays beautiful views of the river year round. Fall colors and gorgeous trees are the background of the park during the fall and stunning snow adds to the beauty of this location during the winter. Nine Mile Recreation Area has three tent sites and 21 RV sites available for camping offers many additional outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking and mountain biking. During the winter, you can also find snowshoers and cross country skiers enjoying the snow-covered trails at Nine Mile Recreation area.

Lake Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille, just over an hour away from GU, is Idaho’s largest lake and is a wonderful spot to enjoy the outdoors and spend time camping. There are many campgrounds on Lake Pend Oreille, including campgrounds within Farragut State Park as well as Kaniksu National Forest. Farragut State Park is a Gonzaga Outdoors favorite, and is located near the town of Sandpoint, Idaho. It offers over 220 campsites within its six campgrounds. Kaniksu National Forest also offers many options for camping on Lake Pend Oreille. Lake Pend Oreille is surrounded by stunning scenery, mountains and wildlife throughout the entire year.  

Heyburn State Park

Heyburn State Park is the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest and is a popular location for camping, hiking, biking, boating, fishing and other outdoor activities. Heyburn State Park has three campgrounds which include Chatcolet, Benewah and Hawleys Landing, and offers over 120 campsites. Heyburn State Park also offers rental cottages and camper cabins which are open for reservation year round. The three rental cottages sleep up to eight people and the camper cabins sleep up to five. Heyburn State Park is located south of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and is just over an hour drive from Spokane. It is well worth the drive for the beautiful scenery and wildlife that you will experience while camping at Heyburn State Park. 


Sarah Van Liew is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter:  @sarah_vanliew.

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