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Centennial Trail Bike Tour (Bowl & Pitcher Overlook To Meenach Bridge)


Distance: 7 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Riding time: 1 hour

Season: March through Nov.

Maps: Spokane River Centennial Trail

Info: Friends of Centennial Trail, 624-7188


Access: To Meenach trailhead: From Northwest Boulevard, head down T.J. Meenach Dr. and bear right just before bridge. Turn left at stop and drive to parking area on upstream side of Meenach Drive underpass.

To Bowl and Pitcher trailhead: From junction with Fort George Wright Drive, head north on Government Way 1-1/2 miles and turn right onto Aubrey White Parkway at entrance to Riverside State Park. Continue past equestrian area and up short hill to trailhead parking.

Attractions: A short introductory route to Spokane River Centennial Trail downstream of Spokane. Route runs mostly on pathway separate from roads past Spokane Falls Community College and military cemetery to overlook of Bowl and Pitcher rapids and campground in Riverside State Park. One of more lightly used sections of trail. Feast of blooming yellow arrowleaf balsamroot begins in April and continues with other flowering plants and shrubs into June.

Comments: Route rides well beginning from either trailhead. From Meenach Bridge parking area, cross river on upstream side of bridge to trailhead, which leads under road and heads downstream.

This north-facing section shaded; can be icy in early spring and late fall.

Gradual uphill leads past SFCC campus and Fort Wright area 1-1/2 miles to military cemetery. Continue through cemetery parking area for brisk downhill leading to river overlook and windy riding through old burn along river.

Trail eventually merges with Aubrey Wright Parkway in Riverside State Park. Turn right, pedal past access to equestrian area then head up short hill to Bowl and Pitcher overlook. This is turnaround for this route description. However, Centennial Trail continues nearly 7 more miles downstream to Nine Mile Dam. Follow trail a short way farther downstream to gated road that leads to Bowl and Pitcher area.

Like most urban trails, rules help maintain peace. Laws prohibit alcoholic beverages, require pets to be on leash, limit speed to 15 mph, give pedestrians right of way. Courtesies include keeping right except to pass, signaling slower-moving trail users when approaching from rear, checking speed on the several steep hills.

Trail hours: dawn to dusk. Experience suggests taking more than one water bottle, especially in summer; never leave valuables in parked vehicle at trailheads.

Trail to date extends from Riverside State Park near Nine Mile Dam to Washington-Idaho state line. Missing link still being planned from Riverfront Park downstream to T.J. Meenach Bridge.

Contribute money or volunteer work to trail through Friends of Centennial Trail, P.O. Box 351, Spokane 99910-0351. To reach state parks ranger in charge of trail, call 456-2729.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map: Centennial Trail Bike Tour

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