July 17, 2011

Little Spokane River a top attraction

Discover Pass required for on-site parking
The Spokesman-Review
Rich Landers photoBuy this photo

Swimming is not allowed in the Little Spokane River Natural Area, but the river down from St. George’s School is popular with paddlers.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Map of this story's location
Canoe, kayak rentals

• Mountain Gear, 325-9000

• REI, 328-9900

• Riverside St. Park, 465-5064

The Little Spokane River Natural Area, managed in north Spokane by Riverside State Park, is one of the region’s top outdoor recreation attractions.

Its trails lure scores of dayhikers.

The area is nationally known for bird watching, and not bad if you just like deer, turtles, dragonflies, wild turkeys, moose and peacocks.

Now that unseasonably high summer flows have subsided, canoes and kayaks are blooming on the river between St. George’s School and the confluence of the Spokane River.

Last weekend, at flows of 300 cubic feet per second, canoeists could easily paddle that 6-mile stretch in less than three hours.

A few trees were down on the water, but big gaps enabled paddlers to maneuver past them.

Washington’s new Discover Pass is required for parking at facilities along the Little Spokane River and other state park facilities.

The Little Spokane River is a natural area with additional rules beyond those at most state parks. Among them:

• River use must be by a device that keeps passengers out of the water: Boats and rafts are acceptable; inner-tubes, air mattresses and swimming are not.

• Alcoholic beverages and pets are prohibited.

• Disturbing wildlife is prohibited.

• Fishing is OK, but not from shore.

• Life jackets (PFDs) must be worn at all times while floating the river.

Restrictions don’t fit everyone’s style, but for natural area lovers, they’re a perfect fit.

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