10 Family Summertime Adventures

Tube the Spokane River:

Experience an urban river adventure with thrilling class I-II rapids. It’s easy with FLOW Adventures, which provides big tubes, PFDs, and shuttle transport (flow-adventures.com). Rent a cooler tube for cold beverages and snacks during your 2-hour float trip, and be sure to wear strap-on water sandals. If you choose to do-it-yourself, always wear a life-jacket (required by law, for all ages) and wait until early July when water levels are typically lower—check flow status at waterdata.usgs.gov.

Zipline through the Trees:

Enjoy super high adventure with Mica Moon Zipline Tour in Liberty Lake, Wash. (micamoon.com) or Timberline Adventures in Coeur d’Alene (ziptimberline.com). Suitable for children ages 7+.

Explore a Cave:

Crawford State Park Heritage Site near Metaline Falls, Wash., offers free guided tours of Gardner Cave. Take a short hike to the U.S.-Canada border—no passport required!

Tour an Underground Mine:

Learn how miners worked in the 1880s during a guided tour of Crystal Gold Mine in Kellogg, Idaho (goldmine-idaho.com).

Go Fishing:

Williams Lake, near Cheney, Wash., is annually stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout. Launch your own non-motorized boat from the state water access site (wdfw.wa.gov, Discover Pass required), or fish from the dock at Klink’s Resort (klinksresort.com).

Bike the Route of the Hiawatha:

Add this iconic ride on your to-do list, because it really is epic and something nearly everyone can do. Along the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains, at the Idaho-Montana border, this scenic, gravel wilderness trail travels through 10 train tunnels and over seven trestles. Learn historical facts and stories about the trail’s railroad days as you journey. Be prepared for a rough and bumpy, no-restrooms-available route. Use a mountain bike, and bring your own first-aid and bike-repair kits. Although there are trail marshals, you’re pretty much on your own. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Hiawatha re-opens May 26 for the season. Trail permits are required; shuttle passes recommended. Ridethehiawatha.com

Paddle the Little Spokane River:

Canoe or kayak (rent or use your own gear) and use Spokane Parks & Recreation’s low-cost shuttle service to take you from the Nine Mile take-out site (Discover Pass required) to the St. George’s school put-in. New this summer: shuttle service will be offered both Saturdays and Sundays, June 30-Sept. 2, 2018. Pre-register at spokaneparks.org, or show up and pay with credit/debit or check (no cash). Spokaneparks.org

Explore the Lewis & Clark Historical Trail:

National Register Sites, day-use state parks and campgrounds, and official water trails provide lots of adventure opportunities (nps.gov). In Idaho, visit the Nez Perce National Historical Park’s Weippe Prairie and Canoe Camp. In Washington, camp at Lewis & Clark Trail State Park near Dayton, Wash., or hike and swim at Sacajawea Historical State Park, near Pasco, Wash.

Hike at Mt. Spokane State Park:

Choose your own adventure among the miles of trails, using a detailed park map to plan your route. (Trail guide: mountspokane.org; detailed map: parks.state.wa.us.) An easy plan is to hike around Bald Knob Campground or the summit area, including the Vista House and the alpine ski trails or Upper Trail 140. Bring a bucket for huckleberry picking. Other easy routes are Entrance Loop Trail (1.5 miles) and Burping Brook Loop (3 miles). Watch out for moose!

Camp at Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area:

There are 15 campgrounds at this 130-mile long lake, which was formed out of the Columbia River with the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. All of them have boat launches but only a few have swimming beaches, including Kettle Falls, Evans, Fort Spokane, and Spring Canyon Campgrounds. Bring your paddling gear or motorized-boat, fishing supplies, and explore. Nps.gov. //


Feature photo: Another summer adventure that’s family friendly paddle the Spokane River with Fun Unlimited rentals. They make it easy, take a picnic to enjoy while you float back. // Derrick Knowles

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