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A Winter Dog Friendly Guide to Spokane

A Winter Dog Friendly Guide to Spokane

Sitka and I recently spent a few days exploring some of the dog-friendly winter activities in Spokane, Washington with Visit Spokane.

Despite growing up in Washington, I had never really spent any time in Spokane. It’s the second-largest city in Washington after Seattle, located all the way on the other side of the state, Spokane is fairly isolated and unfairly gets a bad rap from those of us who live west of the Cascades.

Until recently, I had no idea that Spokane was an outdoor recreational hub, which piqued my interest in visiting inthe first place!

There are tons of dog-friendly trails for running, hiking, and mountain biking. In the winter, there are several areas within a 45-minute drive from downtown where you can go Nordic skiing and snowshoeing with your pup.

Dog-Friendly Winter Activities in Spokane

We haven’t spent a ton of time in the snow this year, so I was pretty stoked to get in some snow play during my visit. Spokane has quite a lot of winter fun to be had, much of it doable with a dog!

Two of the largest state parks in Washington–Mount Spokane and Riverside are within 40 minutes of downtown Spokane and offer snowshoeing and nordic skiing during the snowy winter months.

In Spokane State Parks and in Spokane County, dog owners should be aware of the rules rules when they hit the trails to visit the park with their pets:

  • Dogs must remain on a leash no more than eight feet long at all times
  • Clean up after your pet
  • Pets are not permitted inside most park building, unless specifically noted otherwise

During the winter, Mount Spokane Requires a Washington State Sno-Park permit and Riverside a Discover Pass.

Not Sitka and me, of course, but another dog and human team at the clinic I attended.

Skijoring at the Spokane Nordic Center

Sitka and I kicked off the trip with a skijoring clinic at Mount Spokane State Park.

Each January, the Spokane Nordic Ski Association runs two two-hour skijoring clinics to teach participants learn about various equipment, etiquette, and receive training advice from seasoned skijor teams. After the technical portion, everyone takes to the trails with their dog and gives it a go!

We had a blast, and Sitka picked up on it pretty quickly after a bit of help from the volunteers. Frigid temps turned us around a little sooner than I had hoped, and I can’t wait to go again.

Skijoring is only allowed on specific trails in the park Sunday through Thursday after 12PM and all day on Wednesdays on Linder Ridge, Mica, Lower Tripps and Upper Tripps trails. Dogs are welcome in the Tripp’s Knob warming hut.

Dogs must be harnessed and attached to the human at all times. Dogs on collars are not allowed. 

Mount Spokane has one of the best skjoring programs in the state and is among just a few sno-parks in Washington where you can skijor with your dog.

Snowshoeing at Mount Spokane State Park

With over 100 miles of trails for hiking, xc skiing, horseback riding, and mountain biking, Mount Spokane State Park is the largest state park in the state! During the winter, outdoor recreationists can enjoy snow sports like skiing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and of course, snowshoeing.

Sitka and I attempted to snowshoe to the Vista House perched at the 5,883-foot summit of Mount Spokane, but didn’t quite make it, unfortunately. The four-mile hike follows Trail 131 to the Bald Knob campground and then goes straight up the mountain to the radio towers. Keep an eye out for skiers as the ascent follows the ski area boundary.

Alternatively, you can snowshoe along the road to the Caretaker’s Cabin and head up from there, just be aware that the road is used for snowmobiles. This was our plan once I realized that I had missed the part about going straight up form the campground, but the sun was starting to set and I decided to turn around.

Despite not reaching our intended destination, we enjoyed spectacular views of the Selkirk Mountains throughout the trek.

Riverside State Park

Before checking out of our hotel, Sitka and I went for a trail run in Riverside State Park. It was icy, but we managed to stay upright!

Riverside is a stunning park that reminded me a lot of the Deschutes River Trail in Bend. Located just nine miles outside of Spokane, Riverside State Park is the city’s newest addition and features 55 miles of mixed-use trails that run along the Little Spokane River.

In winter, Riverside can be used for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. Sitka and I started from the Bowl and Pitcher Area and crossed the beautiful suspension bridge before making our way through the park. I really enjoyed our run and wished that I could have made it longer to explore more!

Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park, located in downtown Spokane is a beautiful 100-acre park that National Geographic named as one of the most beautiful urban parks in America. Just 50 years ago, the park was an old rail yard before it was cleaned up and turned into a site for the 1974 World’s Fair.

Today, the park makes up a peninsula within the Spokane River, with plenty to explore.

An easy walk leads to an overlook of Spokane Falls, the largest urban waterfall in the country. For the best views in town, hitch a ride on the Numerica SkyRide, a gondola that soars 200 feet across the river and over the falls (dogs are not allowed on the gondola!)

You can also check out the the giant Radio Flyer wagon slide, and the Garbage Goat, a steel goat that eats garbage, and Snwx Meme (sin-HOO-men-hun) Island, where you can experience the sheer power of the river.

Dog-Friendly Hotels in Spokane

After long days of playing outside, Sitka and I cozied up at the Historic Davenport Hotel, a dog-friendly hotel in downtown Spokane. Updated for the 21st Century, the Forbes 4-Star rated property boasts over 100 years of history while still maintaining the historic elegance.

Be sure to check out the Peacock room and enjoy a cocktail (sans pup) while you admire the 5,000-piece stained-glass ceiling.

After freezing my bones snowshoeing and skijoring, I took full advantage of the jetted tub in the room to warm up and then enjoyed reading my book in the cozy chair next to the window overlooking downtown.

I loved how close it was to restaurants and coffee shops, like Mizuna, Neato Burrito, and First Avenue Coffee. We also visited the dog-friendly Cougar Crest Estate Winery, just a few blocks from the hotel. Spokane is home to 21 wineries, many of which have downtown tasting rooms in what is known as the Cork District. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Spokane and cannot wait to return in another season to experience what else this outdoor hub has to offer!

Looking for more pet-friendly travel guides?

A Dog-Friendly Guide to Bend, Oregon
A Dog-Friendly Guide to the Olympic Peninsula
Traveling to Canada with a Dog from the US
A Dog-friendly Guide to Jackson Hole
A Dog-friendly Guide to Lake Tahoe

Have you visited Spokane with your dog?

What were some of your favorite places to visit?

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