As the weather warms up we are drawn to the outdoors after hiding from the cold for too many months. Going to school in the Pacific Northwest offers a multitude of opportunities to explore what mother nature has to offer.
Whether you prefer running, hiking walking or cycling there is a trail — for you either a walking or short driving distance from Gonzaga’s campus.
Most of these trails are for everyone — from the experienced hiker to someone who just wants to go on a nature walk. Each of these locations offer something different and show a new side to Spokane.
For those that don’t wish to venture far from campus, the Centennial Trail will take you past GU’s campus into the heart of downtown Spokane.
This is a popular place for runners, walkers and dogs when the sun first comes through the clouds on a nice spring day. It will take you to Riverfront Park where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Spokane River while on a stroll.
Dishman Hills Conservatory:
Dishman Hills is a popular spot for Zags who love hiking. It is 4-mile loop that features beautiful wildflowers and is located a 16-minute drive from campus. The trail offers a number of activities and is best used from April until November.
Bowl and Pitcher:
A Zag fan favorite is Bowl and Pitcher.
When you think outdoors in Spokane you think often think Bowl and Pitcher. Located a quick 20 minute car ride from campus, once you walk over the wooden suspension bridge, you are transported into a whole new world.
Bowl and Pitcher is a popular spot for both hiking and running along the trails. There are a lot of rocky trails that are easily navigated, but should be navigated with caution and one should look out and make sure to not trip on rocks or a tree stump.
“I like to run at Bowl and Pitcher because it’s really beautiful and it’s by the river,” said sophomore Ally Legard, a GU cross country and track runner.
Bowl and Pitcher is the roaring Spokane River in between dozens of rocks and boulders.
“Bowl and Pitcher is such a gem. It is easy to get to from the city, yet you feel completely immersed in the wilderness running and hiking there,” said senior Emma Morris, also a member of GU’s cross country and track team.
Deep Creek Canyon in Riverside State Park:
Off the beaten path is Deep Creek Canyon. From Spokane take your choice of either Francis Avenue or Assembly Street to SR-291. Turn left at 7 Mile Road. Continue 2.1 miles to State Park Drive, signed for Deep Creek Canyon. Turn right and continue .4 of a mile on the rough dirt access road to the parking lot.
Deep Creek Canyon is a mix of traveling through the forest and then stopping to take in the views at the top. This is a key spot for hiking and is done best with a four -legged friend.
Palisades is located off of the exit 277 on I-90. It is a 10-ish minute drive away from campus and is a fairly flat trail that goes on for as many miles as your legs will take you.
This is a good place for putting miles on your running shoes or a place to walk and get some fresh air. From Palisades you get a beautiful view of all of Spokane to where you sort of feel like you are in a cloud looking down on Spokane.
In addition to Palisades there is a waterfall that is in full force during the Spring and Summer months on Spokane. You have to carefully hike down the trail to find the waterfall, but once there it is a breathtaking sight.
“Palisades is a great place to go for a long run or to go on a weekend adventure and hike down to the waterfall,” said sophomore Alex Cerveny of the track and cross country team. “It is so peaceful and serene.”
A number of these trails do require you to have a Washington Discover Pass in order to enter and hike, but the pass is well worth it. A one-day pass with transaction and dealer fees cost $11.50 and an Annual pass with transaction and dealer fees costs $35.
A Discover Pass gives you access to millions of acres of Washington state-managed recreational lands including state-parks, trails and wildlife and natural areas. With a Discover Pass you can not only explore the outdoors of Spokane, but all that the Evergreen State of Washington has to offer.
Other notable spots include Peaceful Valley, Mount Spokane and Indian Canyon Mystic Falls.
The key to a Spokane weekend in the sun is jumping into your car with a group of friends or your dog and driving to one of Spokane’s unique and beautiful hiking spots to soak up the sun.
Brianna Vasquez is an A&E editor. Follow her on Twitter: @BriannaVasquez_.