Family Outdoor Events & Adventures

 Spokane Bike Swap & Expo (April 14): Find a new bike for your kid (or yourself) at the region’s largest bike consignment sale—Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Washington State Parks Free Admission Days (select dates, April-Sept): No Discover Pass required on April 14 (Spring Day), April 22 (Earth Day), June 2 (National Trails Day), June 9 (National Get Outdoors Day), June 10 (Fishing Day), August 25 (National Park Service 102nd Birthday), and Sept. 22 (National Public Lands Day).

National Park Week Free Admission Day (April 21): No entrance fees at select national monuments, historical parks, recreational areas, and national parks, including Glacier and Yellowstone national parks in Montana, and Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks in Washington. (Sept. 22 is the next free admission day.)

Earth Day Fair (April 22): Live music, yoga, arts and crafts, and more at the Coeur d’Alene Library and McEuen Park, noon-4 p.m., hosted by the Kootenai Environmental Alliance.

Spring Dash 5-mile Kids Run & Tot Trot (April 22): Run alongside your child on a beautiful course through downtown Coeur d’Alene, starting from McEuen Park. Free to participate in the quarter-mile Tot Trot.

Spokane Kids Fishing Day (May 4): The 4th annual Spokane Kid’s Fishing Day at Clear Lake (west of Spokane near Cheney) is sponsored by the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Neis Family Memorial, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Each participant gets to fish with help from seasoned anglers and take home a t-shirt and a rod and reel, included in the $10 per child cost (free for all current and former Ronald McDonald House kids and their families). 

Lilac Bloomsday Run (May 6): Run or walk with your kids or push them in a stroller. There are many delights along the 12k course, such as live music, friendly volunteers, and Otter Pops for sale. If your kid can walk around Disneyland all day, he or she can do Bloomsday.

Glow For Hunger (May 11): A pre-race party and evening 1-mile kid’s run, at Spokane’s Joe Albi Stadium, to support Northwest Harvest. Parents are free with registered child.

Kidical Mass (May 12): Family 3-mile bike ride through Spokane’s Chief Garry neighborhood, 1-3 p.m., starting from Chief Garry Park. Decorated bikes are encouraged.

Lilac Century Family Fun Ride (May 20): The 25th annual Lilac Century Bike Ride includes 15 and 22 mile rides that have been redesigned to be even more family friendly. The new courses are nearly flat and the 15-mile course avoids road traffic altogether. Both routes follow the paved Fish Lake Trail from the trailhead near Sunset Hill to Scribner Road and back. The 22 mile route is the same as the 15 mile route with the addition of a 3.2 mile section from Spokane Falls Community College along Government Way past the cemeteries and returning the same way. Enjoy a bake potato feed with other riders of all ages at the end of the event. All proceeds benefit local charities supported by the Spokane Aurora Northwest Rotary Club.

Wednesday Night Mountain Bike Race Series at Riverside (May & June): Kids age 17 and younger, all levels and abilities, participate for free at this loosely-described “race” series at Riverside State Park. Ride one or two laps, as fast or as casual as you want, along a 7-11 mile course (new one each week). Meets Wednesday evenings at the park’s 7 Mile Area (“old airstrip”). Weekly registration starts at 5 p.m.; racing starts at 6:30.

Wednesdays in the Woods at Riverside State Park (June-August): Starting Wednesday, June 13, REI’s Spokane store will host educational, interactive presentations by guest speakers at the Bowl & Pitcher outdoor amphitheater every Wednesday throughout the summer. Topics include regional wildlife (moose, cougars, and bears), camp cooking, Leave No Trace, kayaking, and reptiles and birds of prey featuring experts from West Valley Outdoor Learning Center.

Free Family Night Out at Camp Dart-Lo (June 15): 5:30-8 p.m. at Camp Fire’s day camp property along the Little Spokane River.

Summer Parkways (June 21): Pedal, walk, jog, scooter, roller-blade, or skateboard along a 4-mile car-free route through the Manito and Comstock neighborhoods. Activities include a kid scavenger hunt, goodies, and games provided by local business and organization booths along the route. 6-9 p.m.

Spokatopia Outdoor Adventure Festival (July 7): This outdoor recreation festival at Camp Sekani Park and Boulder Beach on the Spokane River is the place to try new outdoor activities and bikes and enjoy kids activities and live music from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Free general admission. 

Summer Fun Run Series (July 11, 18, 25): Youth age 18 and younger participate for free in 5k fun runs (also a 1-mile run option) organized by U-District PT and Negative Split.

Toyota Tuesdays at Silverwood (July 17 & July 24): Pack the family up in any Toyota and save on a day enjoying the rides, waves, and attractions at Silverwood Theme Park. The driver of any Toyota gets in free with a voucher that can be picked up at your local Inland Northwest Toyota Dealer starting June 1 (one voucher for the driver only).

Spokenya 7k Run/Walk for Clean Water (July 21): Course begins and ends at Life Center’s parking lot for this Spring of Hope International fundraiser, to support its clean water efforts in rural Kenya. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. During the last quarter-mile, participants can experience carrying a 5-gallon bucket of water on their heads to finish the course (smaller buckets available for kids). Race includes the CAL Cup competition—$1,000 prize awarded to the high school with the most points, based on participation numbers (students, coaches, alumni, faculty, or staff) and fastest finish times (ages 14-18).

Spokane Valley Cycle Celebration (July 29): Includes a 10-mile ride, beginning at the Mirabeau North trailhead for the Centennial Trail, as part of ValleyFest.

Huckleberry Color Fun Run & Walk (August 5): Run or walk a 5k or 2.5k course through the forest around Schweitzer Mountain Resort and get all colored up. All participants receive a t-shirt, sunglasses, a powder pack for the color toss, and a full-day scenic foot passenger lift ticket to the top of the mountain good for August 6.

Paddle, Splash, and Play (August 11): Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club hosts its annual free kids’ event at Nine Mile Recreation Area, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Discover Pass required). Bring your PFDs and paddle with your kids while trying out canoes, stand-up paddle boards, and all types of kayaks, including sea, whitewater, inflatable, and recreational.

SpokeFest (September 9): Includes a family-friendly 9-mile course option and free Strider balance bike demos.

Global Kidical Massive (September 15): Family bike ride of about 3 miles along the Centennial Trail, 1-3 p.m., starting at Kendall Yards. Meet at Spark Central.

Sekani Kids’ 1k, 5k, & 10k Trail Run (September 30): Free 1k adventure run/hike/walk along dirt trails at Camp Sekani Park. Proceeds from the 5/10k runs benefit Franklin Elementary school’s APPLE program.

National Public Lands Day (September 30): Free admission to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate National Public Lands Day. // (Amy S. McCaffree)


4TH Annual Spokatopia Outdoor Adventure Festival (July 7)

Spokatopia is a one-day outdoor recreation festival where adults and kids can explore all kinds of outdoor activities, clubs and organizations, and outdoor gear and bikes in a fun, family-friendly setting. Try all types of bikes, stand-up paddleboards, and kayaks; sign up for an adventure clinic with Spokane Parks & Recreation and learn a new activity like rock climbing, canoeing, paddleboarding, kayaking, geocaching, and more; enjoy live music and over 50 outdoor-oriented exhibitors; enter to win awesome outdoor gear prizes given away each hour; watch mountain bike stunts and give rock climbing on a bouldering wall, slacklining, and other free kids’ activities a try; or show up for a free morning yoga class for everyone from beginners to expert. Ride your bike to the festival as a family along the Centennial Trail from one of the park and bike locations nearby and take advantage of a free, secure bike coral. Spokatopia runs from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Camp Sekani Park and Boulder Beach on the Spokane River along E. Upriver Drive. General admission and many activities are free but some guided activities and demos have a cost. Learn more at // (OTO)


Mountain Adventures for the Whole Family

Aerial Adventure Park and Summer Tubing at Whitefish Mountain Resort

Experience an aerial adventure in the trees with five courses that will challenge and delight the whole family. Cross cable bridges, climb rope ladders, swing on a trapeze and more while safely secured with a full-body harness. The park is a great activity for families with over 60 obstacles ranging from easy to difficult.

If you’re looking for something closer to the ground, Whitefish Mountain Resort is adding tubing as a summer activity option this year. Ride the Big Easy Carpet to the top of the hill and then fly down a 300-foot slippery surface while bouncing and spinning over bumps and rolls to the bottom. And then do it again and again. Packages are available that also include scenic chairlift rides, the Alpine Slide, and other activities. Summer attractions open Memorial Day weekend—Saturday and Sunday only—and then weekends through June 10 followed by daily operations June 16 through September 3.

Ride the Route of the Hiawatha

Biking the 15-mile-long Route of the Hiawatha through the Bitterroot Mountains near Lookout Pass may be the highlight of your family’s summer. By taking advantage of the bus shuttles, the entire ride through 10 train tunnels (including the 1.66-mile-long Taft Tunnel) and over seven trestles is all downhill. Trail passes, shuttle tickets, and mountain bike rentals with lights are available at Lookout Pass Ski Area just off I-90 on the Idaho-Montana state line. The trail is open daily starting May 26 (projected opening) through September 23.

Ride the Zip Line at Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Schweitzer’s dual 700-foot zip line feature allows two people to blast down the mountain side-by-side while enjoying beautiful lake views together. One ride is $12 or an Ultimate Fun Pass includes unlimited zip line and foot-passenger lift rides as well as access to the climbing wall, Trampoline Jumper, and Sluice Box for the day for $35 (riders must be at least 8 years old). Open daily June 22 through September 3, 2018 (weather permitting).

Trail Work Summer Vacations

Washington Trails Association offers “Youth Volunteer Vacations” for teenagers, ages 14-18. These week-long trips develop outdoor and leadership skills while building and maintaining hiking trails as a team. (Students earn a Northwest Forest Pass, and service hours can be applied to school requirements.) Destination options include Sullivan Lake in northeast Washington, North and Central Cascades, Mount St. Helens, Mt. Rainier’s Wonderland Trail, and the Olympic Peninsula—including an all-girls trip to Lake Crescent.

Silver Mountain Bike Park

With over 35 singletrack trails and the Chair 3 Zone that offers shorter, less committing trails, Silver Mountain Bike Park is a great place for families to mountain bike together or break out onto different trails that match the skill level of varying abilities. Clearly marked trails, free trail maps, rental bikes and gear, and instructors for hire make Silver a welcoming place for any level of rider. Trails at Silver are rated just like ski runs, with green runs for easiest, blue for difficult, black for more difficult, and double black for experts only. The newly rebuilt Crescent Trail offers an incredible beginner experience with a wider path, corners that can be ridden flat or on the berm above, and a mellow enough grade to let riders get comfortable on their bike. This is the perfect place to start, and it’s designed so that new riders can ride with more experienced partners and everyone will have a great time. Silver Mountain recommends giving Payday a try after Crescent, which is just as wide, but loses elevation a little faster and is designed to have riders take advantage of the berms more with greater terrain variety. // (OTO)


Feature photo: Huckleberry Color Fun Run & Walk // Courtesy of Schweitzer Mountain Resort


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