The Thundering Roar of Spokane Falls


Spokane River during spring run-off. Photo: KGilb

Spokane River during spring run-off. Photo: KGilb

There are hundreds of waterfalls scattered all over the Pacific NW. But I’m pretty sure Spokane Falls is the only one located in the heart of a bustling downtown business district.

The Spokane River flows from Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho to Lake Roosevelt near Grand Coulee Dam. As it flows through the middle of Spokane, WA, the river takes a dramatic plunge less than a block from City Hall. Depending on the season, the results can be spectacular!

When is the best time to visit Spokane Falls? Definitely during the spring when snow melt rushes down from the mountain tops and turns the river into a raging torrent. The water turns frothy white as it swirls past jagged boulders and pours through chasms in the rocks.

There are several spots inside Spokane’s Riverfront Park from which to view both the upper and lower falls. A number of foot bridges span the river, offering unique vantage points. And for visitors feeling a bit more adventurous? They invariably take a ride on the Spokane Falls Skyride–an aerial gondola that carries passengers and their cameras out over the thundering falls.

Finally, there is a path that leads down to the bottom of Spokane Falls. Follow the driveway that runs right beside Washington Water Power’s vintage red brick building to a paved walkway beyond. The paved walkway leads to a broad flight of concrete stairs that ends in a viewing platform at water’s edge. From here, you can feel the full force of the river as it tumbles over a spillway. But be warned . . . the walkway and the stairs are pretty steep!

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