Hop on your bike and pedal your way to one of these local parks for some simple, no-cost recreational fun. To find the best biking route, go to Srtc.maps.arcgis.com and search for “Spokane Regional Bike Map” to access Spokane’s interactive online map of the bike lanes, trails and shared roadways (great to use on-the-go if you have a smartphone).
A.M. Cannon Park – West Central
Located at the intersection of Maxwell Ave and Elm, this 8-acre park has something for everyone – softball fields, tennis courts, horseshoe pits and playground equipment. Picnic tables and restrooms are also available, and during the summer the aquatic center is a great choice for families.
Coeur d’Alene Park – Browne’s Addition
As the city’s oldest park, the 10-acre grassy expanse and historic replica gazebo exudes a charming ambience. In addition to a playground and splash pad, there are restrooms, picnic tables, and courts for tennis and basketball. People throwing Frisbees or lounging on blankets while picnicking or reading books are common on sunny days. The playground’s old-school equipment, like the teeter-totter (aka see-saw) and metal slide, will delight both kids and adults.
Cowley Park – Sacred Heart Medical Complex
Located on the north, shaded side of Sacred Heart, this 2-acre park offers quaint, historic charm and simple amenities – a playground (recently updated), restrooms and picnic tables. A spring-fed stream still runs through the park, as it did when it was the site of Reverend Henry T. Cowley’s family home after he arrived in Spokane in 1874. Before that, it was a Spokane Indian tribal winter camp, according to Spokanehistorical.org. Spokane’s first public school was also established here, though none of the original buildings remain. Take time to admire the more than 100-year-old maple, ash and sycamore trees – all planted by Cowley.
Liberty Park – East Central
Before the construction of I-90 divided this park in the 1960s, it was one of the city’s treasured leisure destinations. Throughout its 22-acres, you’ll find fields and courts for softball, tennis and basketball, horseshoes, playground equipment, picnic tables, restrooms, and a city aquatic center. Another great feature is the Ben Burr Trail, a recently-paved community trail that heads one mile southeast to Underhill Park (2910 E. Hartson Ave.), a 19-acre neighborhood mini-park. Here you’ll find a splash pad, playground, and lots of grassy fields and sports courts. In the future, Liberty Park will be easier to access by bike from downtown, thanks to a lower portion of the Ben Burr Trail that will connect with the Centennial Trail.
Mission Park – Logan Neighborhood
Located off the Centennial Trail east of downtown, this 13.33-acre park along the Spokane River offers a variety of recreation options: splash pad and playground for children, tennis courts, softball/baseball field, horseshoes, and swimming at the city’s aquatic center.
Olmsted Brothers Green – Kendall Yards/West Central
This neighborhood park, created by Greenstone Corporation, is conveniently located off the Centennial Trail west of Kendall Yards’ business district. It’s both a great destination and cycling rest-stop with playground equipment, water fountains, and grassy field.
Polly Judd Park – South Hill
This 5.61-acre neighborhood mini-park overlooks Latah Creek and the BNSF railroad line. Features include a covered shelter with picnic tables, restrooms, playground equipment, loop trail that includes multi-level WorldTrail® fitness course stations along the way, and a large grassy natural area and trails along the bluff for exploration.
Wentel Grant Park – Latah Creek/Vinegar Flats
At 10.57 acres, this neighborhood mini-park nestled along Latah Creek is accessible via Inland Empire Way, which is a shared roadway for bikes and vehicles. Playground equipment, basketball, and a softball/baseball field are the activity options (restrooms also available). // (Amy Silbernagel McCaffree)
Bike Safety Tips
Before heading out with your kids on bikes, make sure all riders have helmets and that you and your children know how to ride safely. These tips from Stickman Knows, Spokane’s first comprehensive bike, pedestrian, and motorist safety awareness campaign, are a good place to start:
- Obey all regulatory signs and traffic lights.
- Never ride against traffic.
- Be predictable! Use hand signals to tell motorists what you intend to do.
- Ride in a straight line to the right of traffic (on two-way streets) and a little more than a car-door width away from parked cars.
- Always wear a helmet and never ride with headphones.
- Use lights and reflectors at night and when visibility is poor.
- Don’t pass on the right. Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
- Dress for the weather. Dress in layers so you can adjust to the temperature and always wear bright clothing.
- Keep your bike in good repair. Check brakes and tires regularly.
- Learn more at Stickmanknows.org. // (OTM)
[Feature Photo by Amy McCaffree]