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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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These 25 Spokane-area parks should be on your summer to-do list

The varsity girls from the top running schools start in a pack at the Greater Spokane League crosscountry championships Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 at Plantes Ferry Park. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
The varsity girls from the top running schools start in a pack at the Greater Spokane League crosscountry championships Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 at Plantes Ferry Park. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo
From staff reports

Parks in the Spokane area range from manicured to wild. Often, a park will feature both. Here’s a list of 25 parks – with the notable exceptions of Riverfront Park and Manito Park – that offer a bit of everything, from music, swimming, and picnicking to softball tennis, canoeing and hiking.

Pine River Park

626 E. Greenleaf Drive, Spokane

There may not be a better suburban community park in the county than tiny Pine River, which sits invitingly along the Little Spokane River, just north of Wandermere Golf Course north of Spokane.

Pine River’s 14 acres include a footbridge and 300 feet of naturally sandy beach and a laid-back atmosphere. Crowds are small, perhaps because it’s often overlooked, even by north-siders.

“In May, when the greenery is coming into full bloom, it’s one of the most beautiful areas we have in the park system – it’s just gorgeous in there,” said Doug Chase director or Spokane County Parks.

Valleyford Community Park

11418 E Palouse Highway, in Valleyford

It isn’t exactly hidden – it sits adjacent to the Old Palouse Highway – but it’s often overlooked as motorists speed toward the lakes of North Idaho and other destinations.

That’s too bad, because the park holds a nature trail, shelters, basketball courts and a barbeque area in its 22 acres. California Creek meanders through the park, which is operated and maintained by the Freeman School District as part of an agreement with the Spokane County parks department. It’s open from May 1 through Sept. 30.

“It’s definitely a hidden gem,” Chase said.

Gateway Regional Park

26715 E. Appleway Ave., Liberty Lake

A stroll by the river doesn’t get much better than this, as Gateway holds more than 2,000 feet of shoreline.

This 50-acre park provides access to the Centennial Trail and includes the popular Patricia Simonet Laughing Dog Park at 26715 E. Spokane Bridge Road.

Mirabeau Point Park

2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley

Spokane Valley got this one right. The Mirabeau area was built for everyone. The Discovery Playground, arguably the region’s best, is a must stop in the summer for children and their parents who need a break.

In many ways, Mirabeau could be called a park and community campus. There’s so much happening, from the YMCA fitness center, to the stellar access to the Centennial Trail, a pretty waterfall feature, a senior center and a natural area crisscrossed with trails.

Fish Lake Regional Park

14314 S Myers Park Road, Cheney

Southwest of Spokane, this 67-acre park draws swimmers from around the region. As the name implies, the fishing is decent, too.

The small lake also is a fun paddle. Watch for turtles and listen for the frogs. Besides the water, Fish Lake park has a basketball court, playground, trails and a picnic area.

Holmberg Community Park

9615 N. Wall St., Spokane

The best of both worlds, 54-year-old Holmberg is only 7.4 acres, but it adjoins a 103-acre conservation area with plenty of hiking trails.

The park has tennis courts, a playground, picnic shelter and a softball field.

John H. Shields Park

5625 E. Upriver Drive, Spokane

Definitely for the upwardly mobile, this 26-acre park includes the Minnehaha climbing rocks and hiking trail access to the top of Beacon Hill.

It’s a ruggedly beautiful park jointly operated by the the city and county that also provides access to the Centennial Trail and mountain bike paths. It’s not to be confused with …

Minnehaha Park

4000 E. Frederick Ave., Spokane

Before this land was turned into a city park, its mineral springs were turned into a spa, and later, the Union Brewing and Malting Co.

Development of the 39-acre park under city ownership began 15 years after the city purchased it in 1909. The old stone building in the park is rumored to be haunted.

Today, the park is a popular spot with a playground, ballfields and trailhead for Beacon Hill hikers and bikers.

Plantes Ferry Sports Stadium

12308 E. Upriver Drive, Spokane Valley

Game on! The 95-acre regional sports complex offers softball and soccer fields galore. It’s also the site of many regional college and high school cross country meets.

An obelisk marks the site where Antoine Plante’s ferry crossed the Spokane River.

Bear Lake Regional Park

29109 N. Newport Highway, Chattaroy

Located 15 miles north of Spokane, the 166-acre county park features the spring-fed lake with surrounding wetlands and forest.

There’s also play equipment, picnic areas, a sandy volleyball court, swimming beach and hiking trails. It’s also a good place to canoe and fish.

Liberty Lake Regional Park

3707 S. Zephyr Road, Liberty Lake

This 3,591-acre park is a county jewel where activities abound for everyone.

It’s the biggest park in the county, with wetlands, lake shore, a designated swimming beach and the popular 8.3-mile Liberty Lake Loop Trail for hikers.

There’s a modest entry fee of $2 per person ages 6 and up. Younger children enter for free.

An ORV park features gentle and steep slopes, mud bogs and hill climbs.

Prairie View Park

3724 E. 61st Ave., Spokane

The best place on the South Hill for kids to make a splash, this park includes the Southside Aquatics Facility.

The 17-acre park also includes a basketball court, climbing wall, picnic facilities, trails and a playground.

Cliff Park

426 W. 12th Ave., Spokane

A giant basalt outcrop is the centerpiece of this 4-acre South Hill park.

There might not be a playground, but kids love the mysterious trail that leads up a stairway to the top of the cliff, which once served as a lookout for local tribes. The cliff top is a large grassy area ringed by a stone wall.

Lincoln Park

2300 E. 17th Ave., Spokane

This 51-acre park created a century ago has two personalities.

The lower section is traditional, with a playground and open fields for practicing lacrosse teams or best friends throwing a Frisbee.

A paved path leads away from this orderliness, climbing beneath cliffs until emerging at the true showpiece of this Olmsted-inspired park: a wild oasis surrounded by city.

The paved path continues in a quarter-mile loop around a natural pond alive with ducks and the calls of blackbirds and songbirds.

Dirt trails branch from the pavement to explore basalt outcroppings, pines forest and open meadows.

Liberty Park

502 S. Pittsburg St., Spokane

Once one of Spokane’s showpieces before engineers and construction crews embarked on the Interstate 90 project, Liberty Park remains an important respite for East Central.

The Liberty Park pool entices youngsters during the heat of summer. There are tennis and basketball courts, places to picnic including a large shelter, ballfields, horseshoe pits, play equipment, and rocks and stairs to explore.

Don’t forget the nearby Underhill Park at 2910 E. Hartson Avenue connected by the newly paved and widened Ben Burr Trail. While sledding is its calling card during the winter, during summer the 19-acre park has a beautiful, large open green space and plenty of activities.

Cannon Hill Park

625 W. 19th Ave., Spokane

It could be said that Cannon Hill Park built Spokane. The land was home to a bustling brickyard and helped rebuild the city after the Great Fire of 1889. Pavers from the brickyard were used on many of the city’s streets and can still be seen in some areas.

Today, the park is a stunning feature of the South Hill. A pond sits where the brickyard one was. A stone bridge recommended by the Olmsted brothers was built to link what was once a wading pool with the larger east pond. It still stands and is an exploration destination for kids.

The park is perfect for strolls and small picnics. There’s play equipment and open field areas.

Grant Park

1015 S. Arthur St., Spokane

The 13-acre park in the Perry District features open fields for play, a busy basketball court and big play areas with adjacent Grant School.

The park has a splash pad, tennis courts, some great climbing trees, the rainbow arch and open fields for ballgames.

Polly Judd Park

1802 W. 14th Ave., Spokane

Overlooking Latah Creek, the 6-acre Polly Judd Park features an exercise course for fitness aspirants, along with a play structure, open field, picnic area and access to the South Hill bluff network of hiking and mountain biking trails.

This relatively new park is embraced by the neighborhood with pancake feeds and other community events.

Sekani Park

6707 E. Upriver Drive, Spokane

The old Boy Scout camp sprawls across 238 acres of undeveloped hills and ravines north of the Spokane River.

It features some of the area’s best mountain biking, full of single-track trails, jumps and tricks. It also features a challenging disc golf course that takes players up and around basalt cliffs, through towering pine trees and across ravines.

Coeur d’Alene Park

2195 W. 2nd Ave., Spokane

The Browne’s Addition park is the city’s first and sits within a historic district full of distinctive homes.

The 10-acre park features a historic gazebo, play equipment, a splash pad and picnic area among the towering pines.

On Thursday evenings during summer, the park hosts the Browne’s Addition concert series.

Drumheller Springs Park

3135 N. Ash St., Spokane

This lightly used 12-acre park is a natural area complete with basalt outcroppings and a natural spring that for centuries served as a freshwater destination and camp for native people.

A plaque sits near the park, detailing Chief Garry’s contributions with the region’s first school, which was at the site.

Today, the park is mostly used by students to learn about native vegetation and history.

Mission Park

11123 E. Mission Ave., Spokane

The Logan neighborhood’s Mission Park has many amenities of a great park. There’s a pool, splash pad, the Centennial Trail, ball fields, tennis courts, river frontage and play equipment.

It has 13 acres that can handle picnics, big gatherings, and it’s located conveniently close to Gonzaga University.

Audubon Park

3405 N. Milton Ave., Spokane

From high school cross country runners to toddlers, the 26.5 acres of Audubon Park have a bit of something for everyone.

It’s a popular choice for family picnics and birthday parties for neighborhood kids. During the summer, watch for free community concerts that draw dozens of people.

There are ballfields, trails, splash pads, playgrounds and, of historical interest, a cobblestone fireplace built in 1936 with money donated by North Side Camp Fire Girls.

Corbin Park

2914 N. West Oval St., Spokane

This 12-acre park basks in history. It’s one of Spokane’s best parks because of its history first as an oval track for horse racing. It is hugged on all sides by well-kept homes built during the turn of the century. The modern park was designed in 1916 by the famous Olmsted brothers, from the family that designed New York City’s Central Park and left their mark in Spokane through design and park consultation.

Today, the park is a mature, lovely space of walking trails, playgrounds and fields.

Finch Arboretum

3404 Woodland Blvd., Spokane

You could call this Picture Park.

For decades, high school seniors have had their portraits taken amidst the glorious trees at Finch Arboretum. Is there a prettier place to walk during autumn? Once the snow falls, a hearty group of cross-country skiers cut trail in the park for fun and fitness.

The 65 acres along the Sunset Hill southwest of downtown feature extensive botanical and tree collections – 2,000 and counting – including lilacs, maples and conifers, and a rhododendron grove.

There’s a self-guided walking tour and year-round activities.

Comstock Park

601 W. 29th Ave., Spokane

Free symphony concerts. One of the city’s busiest and best swimming pools. Kids everywhere. Tennis courts. And a fun field for throwing a boomerang. Comstock Park has a bit of something for everyone.

It’s situated along busy 29th Avenue, and yet once you’re in the 25-acre park, it’s quiet enough for a perfect picnic, nap or concert.

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