Floating the Little Spokane River is a close-to-home classic that may leave you a little disoriented mid-way through the trip, wondering what wild corner of the Earth you’ve been magically transported to, as ducks, herons and other water-loving birds bust loose from lush riparian greenery; deer and moose stare at you in wonder from shore; and your eyes glaze over from gazing too long into the crystal clear water and listening to the gentle, trance-inducing murmurs of flowing water and chirping songbirds. Why haven’t you paddled this slice of moving nature bliss lately? Now you don’t even have the excuse of not wanting to set up your own shuttle.
Spokane Parks and Recreation offers summertime shuttle service on the Little Spokane for you and your canoe, kayak or SUP transportation from the 9 Mile Take Out (where you leave your vehicle) to the put-in at St. Georges (which makes for a 6-mile float). Shuttles run on Saturdays hourly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. between July 4 and September 5. You can show up anytime throughout the day and pay on-site with a check or credit/debit card (sorry, no cash). Pre-register at spokaneparks.org or call 509.363.5418 for more info. No inner tubes, rafts, dogs or alcohol are allowed on the river or in the shuttle vehicles and PFD’s (life jackets) are required by law. Youth 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to use the shuttle service. Don’t forget your Discover Pass for your personal vehicle and don’t disturb or harass the birds and other wildlife that live in and along the river.
For more information about the float, check out the book “Paddling Washington.” If you need a canoe or kayak, you can buy and rent them at Mountain Gear (2002 N Division, Spokane).