Summer Bucket List

85 things to do in the Inland Northwest 

Cover photo courtesy Shallan Knowles

Don’t let summer pass you by: use this roundup of things to do in the mountains, lakes, rivers, trails, and small towns around our beautiful corner of the Northwest. 

  1. Attend the Fur Trade Festival May 18 at the Kettle Falls Historical Center. Take a step back in time while enjoying a living history encampment and learn about the Pacific Northwest fur trade from reenactors discussing how traders lived, trapped, hunted, dressed, and communicated in the 1800s. 
  1. Rent a boat from Carefree Boat Club of North Idaho and go tubing, water skiing, or wake surfing. 
  1. Tube, kayak, or raft the mellow rapids of the lower Spokane River below downtown Spokane once the river level drops and the water warms up, typically in late June or early July. Be sure to end your trip at the TJ Meenach Bridge area to avoid large, more dangerous rapids downstream. Simplify your float by booking a shuttle and renting tubes from FLOW Adventures (509-242-8699). 
  1. Take a good book on a walk to a public park or natural area near you and relax and read from a real paper book or copy of Out There. 
  1. Ride or hike part of the Ferry County Rail Trail near Republic in Northeast Washington, then hit Curlew State Park for a swim. 
  1. Use public transit to go on a hike from your house. Get creative with the hiking and bus routes to pull off an all-day wander.   
  1. Paddle Echo Bay near Farragut State Park on Lake Pend Oreille and bring a spotting scope or binoculars to look for the resident mountain goats that are sometimes spotted on and around Bernard Peak. 
  1. Run in your birthday suit (or fully clothed) at the clothing-optional Bare Buns Fun Run July 28. This annual tradition happens at the Kaniksu Ranch north of Spokane near Deer Lake.  
  1. Hike the 4-mile roundtrip Similkameen Trail near Oroville, Wash., a beautiful rail-trail with amazing scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. 
  1. Round up some friends and take turns riding mountain bikes together at Spokane’s Riverside State Park for 24 hours at the 24 Hours of Riverside event May 25. 
  1. Ride the bike park at Big White Resort near Kelowna, B.C., and then taste wine in B.C.’s renowned Okanagan Valley on your way back to the states. 
  1. Take advantage of the some of the hottest or smokiest days of the summer to escape indoors to build on your rock-climbing skills at the Coeur Climbing Company gym in Post Falls. 
Courtesy Shallan Knowles
  1. Spend a day giving back to the trails you love by joining a trail maintenance or construction project by one of our region’s many trail organizations. Locally, the Washington Trails Association, Evergreen East, Pend Oreille Pedalers, Idaho Trails Association, and Lake City Trails Alliance each organize trail projects all summer long that need volunteers. There are many other regional trails organizations that work in Inland Northwest wilderness and backcountry areas.  
  1. Ride the new Cancourse mountain bike trails in Coeur d’Alene. 
  1. Get over your fear of jumping out of a plane and sign up for a tandem skydiving trip with Skydive West Plains west of Spokane. 
  1. Enjoy the traffic-free streets on Spokane’s South Hill near Manito Park for an evening of biking, walking, or rolling without watching for cars thanks to Summer Parkways, held June 18 from 6-9 p.m. 
  1. Ride the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes out of Wallace, Idaho, then enjoy a cold beverage and meal at City Limits Pub a few blocks from the trail. 
  1. Try mountain bikes, catch shuttles to the top of the Camp Sekani trails, watch a MTB jump show, and enjoy adult beverages June 14-15 at the Spokatopia Outdoor Adventure Festival at Camp Sekani Park. Or participate in the Spokatopia Poker Ride for the chance to win prizes (June 15).  
  1. Go road biking on one of the many scenic, low-traffic back road routes around Colville, Wash. 
  1. Book a rafting trip on the Clark Fork River in Montana with ROW Adventures. The fun class III rapids and plentiful swimming opportunities make for a great day trip from Spokane or North Idaho.  
  1. Hunt for bigfoot in Northeast Washington then Run the Bigfoot 5K and check out the Metaline Falls Bigfoot Festival June 15-16. 
  1. Take a yoga class from Harmony Yoga in Spokane (check out their ad in this issue of Out There for deals). 
  1. Pedal a “RailRider” on retired railroad tracks along the Pend Oreille River near Metaline Falls, Wash. 
  1. Book a multi-day rafting adventure on Idaho’s Salmon River with a local outfitter like FLOW Adventures. 
  1. Park near the entrance to the 42,000-acre Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge near Colville, Wash., and ride your bike on the 10-mile auto tour loop, making stops at interpretive sites or for short hikes. 
  1. Visit an Inland Northwest old-growth forest grove, like the Ross Creek or Hobo cedar groves. Find an online guide at 
Courtesy Shallan Knowles
  1. Bike to a farmers’ market in a neighborhood near you and go shopping for fresh, local food. 
  1. Ride your bike from one of the Riverside State Park trailheads to Long Lake at the Nine Mile Recreation Area and go swimming or fishing. Campsites are available if you want to make it a bikepacking overnighter. 
  1. Hike the 7 miles of trails at Pend Oreille County Park between Spokane and Sandpoint off of Highway 2. 
  1. Surf the world’s largest standing wave at Lakeside Surf in Chelan. Whether you are an ocean surfer, river surfer, wake surfer, or have never surfed before, you’ll love getting out on this thrilling river-style wave. Book sessions in advance online. 
  1. Walk or bike the Children of the Sun Trail, a new paved path that parallels Spokane’s in-progress north-south freeway. 
  1. Buy a copy of the Washington State Birding Trail Palouse to Pines map from Audubon Washington and explore some of the best bird habitat in our area, documenting and learning about different species of birds as you go. 
  1. Plan a bike tour on the low-traffic back roads of Eastern Oregon, like the 130-mile loop route through the Pained Hills and John Day Fossil Beds. Find info and other route options at 
  1. Connect as many trails as you can in the Dishman Hills Conservancy in Spokane Valley to create an epic day hike.  
  1. After work, head to Post Falls to hike the trails in Post Falls Community Forest and then have a picnic dinner at Q’emiln Park or a pint at one of the breweries in town. 
  1. Hike Kamiak Butte, an island of forest in the Palouse near Pullman. 
  1. Raft some of the best whitewater in America on Idaho’s Lochsa River in May during peak runoff. These class IV and class III rapids are best experienced with a seasoned rafting outfitter like ROW Adventures. 
  1. Take a mountain bike road trip to Moscow and spend a day or two riding the trails at Moscow Mountain. 
  1. Learn to sail on a local lake by renting a boat with other sailing friends or taking a lesson. Fun to Sail offers sailing lessons for all abilities ( 
  1. Spend a few days riding the many new mountain bike trails around the Sandpoint, Idaho, area, staying in town or at a nearby campground. Find trail info at 
Courtesy of Carol Corbin
  1. Roadtrip the International Selkirk Loop that connects scenic byways and unique small towns in Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia, Canada. 
  1. Rent a campervan from Gusto Vans in Spokane Valley and live the van life for a weekend or longer while exploring iconic Northwest parks and public lands. 
  1. Take a kid or anyone with accessibility or disability requirements needs fishing at Post Falls Park Pond near Post Falls, Idaho. Fish easily from a bridge, shore, or fishing platforms with great odds for catching fish at this well-stocked pond. 
  1. Rally friends to pedal down old train tracks on a pedal-powered rail bike in northeast Washington with NPOV Lions Railriders. Make a reservation at 
  1. Ride the new giant swing coming to Zipwallace near Wallace, Idaho, along with the superman zipline, and then stay the night in one of the new rental yurts!  
  1. Take a mountain biking trip to Nelson, B.C. and ride trails in the Morning Mountain and Kokanee Creek Provincial Park areas then hit the hot springs at Ainsworth. 
  1. Run wild on the Mountain Magic 5/10/25K Trail Run at Mount Spokane State Park on June 30.  
  1. Get up early and do yoga while the sun rises in a public park or natural area. 
  1. Backpack to an alpine lake you’ve never been to before. Find plenty of options in Rich Lander’s classic guidebook “100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest.” 
  1. Ride the Silver Mountain gondola in Kellogg, Idaho, to mountain bike or hike around the huge trail network at Silver Mountain Bike Park.  
  1. Walk or run the Dad’s Day Dash with dad on Fathers’ Day at Spokane’s Riverfront Park, June 16. 
Courtesy Shallan Knowles
  1. Visit 20 parks in the Spokane area to hike, bike, play or participate in other fun activities as part of the Greater Spokane Parks Challenge. Once you sign up and finish the challenge, you’ll be entered to win raffle prizes, including cash and gift cards. Scan the QR to download the app on page xx of this issue to get started. 
  1. Spend part of a day exploring the challenges in Mica Moon’s aerial park with bridges, tight ropes, and more in Liberty Lake, Wash.  
  1. Kayak or go tubing on a calm stretch of Idaho’s St. Joe River.  
  1. Mountain bike the Empire Trails that includes new trails near Spirit Lake, Idaho.  
  1. Go ziplining with Timberline Adventures in Coeur d’Alene and experience seven zip lines and two sky bridges, and then have lunch in a tree house.  
  1. Hike one of the many trails on Mount Spokane and hunt for huckleberries. 
  1. Kayak in a glass-bottom boat on Wallowa Lake near Joseph, Ore., to experience the underwater environment in a whole new way. You can rent kayaks or sign up for a tour, including a night tour with lighted kayaks that illuminate the fish, boulders, and lake bottom for a magical paddling experience. Info at 
Courtesy Shallan Knowles
  1. Canoe or kayak a stretch of the Pend Oreille River Water Trail in northeast Wash.  
  1. Ride the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes from Plummer to Harrison, Idaho, and go swimming at the beach.  
  1. Ride the Wallowa Lake Tramway, a 3,700’ gondola ride to the peak of Mt. Howard in the Wallowa Mountains near Joseph, Ore. 
  1. Ride the IMBA Epic Seven Summits mountain bike trail in Rossland, B.C. 
  1. Sign your kids up for an indoor climbing camp at Wild Walls Climbing Gym in downtown Spokane. 
  1. Bike to the Townshend Cellar tasting room in downtown Spokane to try some of their wines and get a “Wowler” wine growler filled to go.  
  1. Explore some of the sites along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. 
  1. Try kiteboarding or wing foiling on the Columbia River near Hood River, Ore.   
  1. Ride your bike to one of Spokane’s smallest and coolest bars, The Baby Bar, downtown behind Neato Burrito. 
  1. Run or walk the 5k at the Wallace Huckleberry Festival on Sunday, Aug. 18. 
  1. Ride the 15-mile Route of the Hiawatha Trail, named “America’s Crown Jewel of the Rails to Trails.”  
  1. Treat the family to a trip to Slide Waters water park at Lake Chelan in central Washington. There’s a lazy river, body slides, tube slides, surfing on the Lakeside Surf wave, downhill racer slides and more all with incredible views of the lake and mountains. 
  1. Go fishing or paddling at Fish Lake Regional Park, near Cheney, Wash.  
  1. Camp on Idaho’s Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho, or stay in town and go on a whitewater rafting day trip and enjoy the local nightlife in this cool river town.   
  1. Go kayaking or boating on Lake Roosevelt and picnic on one of its many sandy, primitive beaches.  
  1. Forage for wild berries, mushrooms, and plants that you know or use a guidebook to help you discover new ones.  
  1. Hike or bike the Columbia Plateau Trail State Park through Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge from trailheads near Cheney, Wash. 
  1. Go camping and tube the Touchet River at Lewis and Clark Trail State Park, near Dayton, Washington.  
  1. Canoe or kayak the Little Spokane River. Use the Spokane Parks & Recreation weekend shuttle service (reservations recommended). 
  1. Hunt for fossils by breaking open rocks at the Stonerose Fossil Site in the small town of Republic in northeast Washington ( then check out the super cool interpretive center and go for a bike ride or walk on the Golden Tiger Pathway that starts in town. This is a great family outing! 
  1. Spend a few days swimming and chilling on the city beaches in Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.  
  1. Take a wildflower day hike on the Kettle Crest in late June, starting from Sherman Pass and hiking north toward Columbia Mountain. 

Learn About the Places Where We Play 

Join one of these educational nature outings hosted by the Spokane County Library District, including some outings led by Out There Outdoors writers! Unless otherwise noted, outings are for adults and registration is required. More info and sign up at 

  1. Nature Journaling Hike: Glenrose Trail (June 13, 8–10:30 a.m.) 

Take an invigorating hike on the Glenrose trail in the Dishman Hills Natural Area with a break for a nature journaling exercise. This hike is moderately difficult along a 5.5-mile loop with an elevation gain of 1,500 feet. Led by Out There contributor Heidi Lasher.  

  1. History Hike: Mt. Spokane State Park (July 9, 8–10:30 a.m.) 

Explore the upper elevations of Mount Spokane State Park and discover park history at Bald Knob Campground, the site of the Civilian Conservation Corps’ spike camp, and Cook’s Cabin Woodshed. This trail hike over uneven terrain is a 3.5-mile loop with an elevation gain of 400 feet is led by Holly Weiler, Out There contributor and board member of the Friends of Mt. Spokane State Park.  

  1. Medicinal & Edible Plants Hike: Liberty Lake Regional Park (Aug. 20, 8–10:30 a.m.) 

Explore the trails at Liberty Lake Regional Park and learn about the medicinal and edible plants that grow wild along the route as well as tips for locating them. This hike is led by Karie Lee Knoke, Out There contributor and contestant on the TV series Alone.  

  1. Hiking Safely Near Bears Presentation (June 12 & June 25) 

Learn how to recreate safely in bear country by taking the right precautions, plus learn grizzly and black bear identification, basic bear biology and phenology, and how to respond if you encounter a bear in the field, from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Matt Brinkman (Cheney Library June 12, 6:30 p.m. and North Spokane Library June 25, 6:30 p.m.). 

  1. Medical Lake Geo-Walk & Water Sampling: Waterfront Park (Aug. 21, 5-7 p.m.) 

Walk 3 miles along the trail around Medical Lake with Chad Pritchard, professor of Geology at EWU, and learn about the lake’s history and natural science and help gather water samples for stormwater research and pick up trash along the way (tween and teen friendly).  

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