Spokane River Paddle Tour


Distance: 7 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Paddling time: 1 to 2 hours

Season: Virtually year-round

Maps: USGS Post Falls, Liberty Lake

Info: Washington Water Power river flow recording, 482-8043


Access: Put-in: From Interstate 90 at west edge of Post Falls, take Pleasant View Road exit 2. Go south to stoplight and turn left (east) on Railroad Ave. Go nearly 1/2 mile and turn right (south) on Corbin Road, which winds down to park along shore of Spokane River.

Take-out: From I-90 east of Spokane, take Liberty Lake exit 296. At intersection, turn north on Harvard Road until you cross Spokane River bridge. Immediately turn left into access site.

Attractions: Easy access from I-90 paves way for quick but satisfying paddle trip - even after work. This stretch of Spokane River requires some savvy, but still practical for paddlers with modest skills. Route follows course for recreational paddlers in annual Spokane River Canoe Classic. Includes eight Class-I rapids (expert paddlers call them riffles) that can get you wet in some conditions. Rapids barely perceptible in high spring flows. Vehicle shuttle only 7-1/2 miles, including 5-3/4 miles on I-90.

Hazards: Bridge abutments. Powerful eddies and turbulence in high water. Boulders and strong eddylines in low water.

Comments: Rules vary for this interstate trip. Idaho requires any small craft to carry whistle or horn for emergency signaling. Idaho requires vessels to carry life jackets for each person. Spokane County requires everyone floating Spokane River to WEAR life jacket.

From calm waters of Corbin Park put-in, boaters soon get first taste of splashy water. Rapids and eddylines for one mile below Corbin Park are as difficult as any found en route to Harvard Road.

Use common sense in avoiding hazards posed by bridge abutments. Expect turbulence around big pilings at I-90 bridge. Kayakers like to play in hole created by river obstructions under old state line highway bridge at river right just downstream from I-90. Canoeists beware.

Note optional takeout at Centennial Trail trailhead, river left, just downstream from state line. Next three miles exposed to wind.

Be prepared for eddy at take-out on river right just under Harvard Road bridge. Area is rocky in low water.

Route beyond high water mark in Idaho almost entirely private land. In Washington, some public land borders river, most notably along Centennial Trail on south shore from state line to Harvard Road.

In spring flows of 19,000 cfs, paddlers can do route in one hour. More typical summer flows under 3,000 cfs can triple time and work, especially if headwinds develop in straight stretches downstream from state line. Late summer flows under 1,200 cfs require more skill to avoid rocks. Flows listed daily on page A2 of The Spokesman-Review.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map of paddle tour

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN - Routes: Classic Trips in the Inland Northwest

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