Start the new year off right by participating in one of these First Day hikes. January 1st will be a State Parks free day, so get out there!

First Day Hike at Riverside State Park

Name of hike: Bowl and Pitcher loop

Time of event: 9:30 a.m.

Where to meet: Bowl and Pitcher day use parking lot (Bowl and Pitcher in Riverside State Park, 4427 N. Aubrey L. White Parkway, Spokane, 99205)

Degree of difficulty: Easy

Length: Approximately 2 miles round trip

Description: Danny Murphy with WA State Parks and Ben Baird with the Riverside State Park Foundation will lead the hike. The terrain is primarily flat, but participants should be prepared for some sections of tread that are uneven and rocky. This hike will take participants along the Spokane River amongst towering Ponderosa Pines and massive basalt rock formations in one of the main areas of Riverside State Park called Bowl and Pitcher. Participants will have an opportunity to learn about the park’s history, flora and fauna, and view many of the distinctive structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, including the iconic swinging bridge. There is a good chance that participants might see some wildlife including osprey, bald eagles, deer, western gray squirrels, and moose to name a few. Snacks and other goodies will be provided by the Riverside State Park Foundation and WA State Parks. Visitors aren’t required to display a Discover Pass because it is a State Parks free day.

Dogs: Permitted on leash for hike

Other: Wear hiking boots or shoes with good traction. If there is snow please bring snow appropriate gear such as snowshoes, microspikes, and trekking poles.

Contact for more questions: Danny Murphy at 509-795-4609 or daniel.murphy@parks.wa.gov

RSVP: Not required

Riverside State Park, Bowl and Pitcher

The Bowl and Pitcher area at Riverside State Park

First Day Snowshoe Hike at Mount Spokane State Park

Name of snowshoe hike: Smith Gap Snowshoe Hut

Time of event: 9:30 a.m.

Where to meet: Lower Kit Carson Loop Road parking lot at the first hairpin turn (Mount Spokane State Park, 26107 N. Mount Spokane Park Dr., Mead, 99021)

Degree of difficulty: Easy snowshoe hike

Length: Approximately 2 miles round trip

Description: Holly Weiler with Friends of Mount Spokane State Park and Lara Gricar with WA State Parks will lead the snowshoe hike. This route will take participants west along the Lower Kit Carson Loop Road to Smith Gap and the snowshoe hut which was completed in 2014. Participants will hike through a beautiful old growth cedar-hemlock forest and pass several stream crossings. Snacks, hot beverages, and other goodies will be provided at the trailhead by REI, WA State Parks, and Friends of Mt. Spokane State Park. Sno-park permit is required and can be purchased at the Mt. Spokane State Park office or online.

Dogs: Not permitted on leash for guided snowshoe hike.

Other: Wear snow-appropriate footgear and attire. Please also bring snowshoes—they will not be provided.

Contact for more questions: Lara Gricar at 509-465-5066 or lara.gricar@parks.wa.gov

RSVP: Please RSVP by December 27 using this form. Maximum group size is 30. RSVP link: goo.gl/bF32Gm

First Day Snowshoe Hike at Mount Spokane State Park

Name of snowshoe hike: Mount Spokane Summit

Time of event: 9:30 a.m.

Where to meet: Meet in the lower Selkirk parking lot also known as the snowmobile sno-park lot (Mount Spokane State Park, 26107 N. Mount Spokane Park Dr., Mead, 99021)

Degree of difficulty: Difficult snowshoe hike / Approximately 1,400 feet of elevation gain

Length: Approximately 3.5 miles round trip

Description: Cris Currie with Friends of Mount Spokane State Park and Chris McKinney with WA State Parks will lead the snowshoe hike. Participants will hike past the Bald Knob Picnic Shelter to the historic stone Vista House located at 5,883 feet—the highest point of Mt. Spokane. If weather permits, participants will have views of the Cabinet Mountains in Montana, Selkirk Crest in North Idaho, and nearby lakes. Snacks, hot beverages, and other goodies will be provided at the trailhead by REI, WA State Parks, and Friends of Mt. Spokane State Park. Participants can also purchase hot drinks, chili, and snacks at the Vista House. Sno-park permit is required and can be purchased at the Mt. Spokane State Park office or online.

Dogs: Not permitted on leash for guided snowshoe hike.

Other: Wear snow-appropriate footgear and attire. Please also bring snowshoes and trekking poles—they will not be provided. It is also recommended to bring sunglasses and sunscreen as a large portion of this hike is sun exposed.

Contact for more questions: Lara Gricar at 509-465-5066 or lara.gricar@parks.wa.gov

RSVP: Please RSVP by December 27 using this form. Maximum group size is 30. RSVP link: goo.gl/CWVqbm