This story about mountain biking near Spokane, WA is brought to you by our friends at Gregory Packs. With mountain bike packs designed for stability, functionality, and organization, you can easily pack a bag for the trails and the campground.
Powder Magazine recently listed Spokane as one of “The Next American Ski Towns.” The slopes that make Spokane an up-and-coming ski town also mean miles of mountain biking trails when the snow melts.
That’s right, this Eastern Washington city is your gateway to hundreds of miles of trails and thousands of acres of wilderness. They have everything from big jump lines and single tracks, to urban biking paths that wind their way along rivers and lakes.
Camping and Mountain Biking Near Spokane, Washington
These are just a few of our favorite camping destinations to keep handy while mountain biking near Spokane, WA.
Beacon Hill and Saltese Uplands
Beginner and intermediate riders can hone their skills or push their limits on the trails of Beacon Hill and the Saltese Uplands. Both of these trail systems are within Spokane city limits with, offering easy access and ample parking. These trails do not offer shuttle options so you have to earn the thrilling descent with an uphill pedal first.
If you’re limited on time, then Beacon Hill would be your best choice. The urban wilderness offers over 50 designated trails crisscrossing the hill for 26 rideable trail miles. Riders have free access to 15 beginner trails, 29 intermediate trails, and 13 expert trails. The area also includes a skills park and substantial dirt jump section. Bikers can practice on ladders and drops off of natural features. The jump section offers dirt jumps of varying difficulty for those that want to catch some air. Beacon Hill is still improving with expansion plans underway. Construction began April 2018 on a pump track and skills park designed for beginners.
Beacon Hill also offers hiking, rock climbing, disc golf, and river access. Beacon Hill has it all.
For some new riders, flying down narrow single track with trees whipping by can be unnerving. Which is exactly why the Saltese Uplands are perfect for building your confidence on the trail. The nearly tree-free open rolling hillside offers views of Liberty Lake, Mount Spokane, and the Saltese Flats. The openness of the terrain provides great opportunities for wildlife viewing. Sightings of white-tailed deer, coyotes, and raptors are common in the area. This is a relatively easy trail system that is excellent for confidence building for new riders.
Enjoy easy access to both trail networks by camping at the nearby Liberty Lake Regional Park. This campground is a short drive whether you want to catch air at Beacon or flow through the shrub steppe of the Saltese Uplands. The campground offers tent and RV sites as well as bathrooms and showers. The campground itself has a variety of activities with hiking trails that feature a waterfall and old growth cedar grove. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching from the boardwalk, swimming on the public beach, and relaxing on the grassy picnic and playground area.
While you’re taking laps at Beacon Hill you might as well head up the road to Mount Spokane. This local ski hill is less than a gallon of gas away from downtown and even closer if coming from Beacon Hill. After the spring thaw, riders can enjoy 90 miles of trail ranging in difficulty. The trail system also accommodates shuttling. If you’re ambitious and looking for a workout, start at one of the several lower parking areas and trailheads and gain elevation the hard way. Or start at the historical Vista House at the top of the mountain and let gravity do the work as you cruise down miles of single track.
Located in Mount Spokane State Park, you can conveniently camp at the top of the mountain and pedal from your campsite to the trails. The campground offers six primitive campsites shaded by towering Ponderosa pines.
Explore one of Washington’s largest state parks and enjoy 360-degree views of Spokane, the Idaho Panhandle, and Canada. In the spring, enjoy open mountainsides covered in blooming bear grass and wildflowers. In late summer, treat yourself to delicious huckleberries picked straight from the wild. Although less than 30 miles of trail are designated for mountain biking, the park offers 100 miles of hiking trails and three mountain summits.
If you want to bring your passport, then you can check out world-renowned Canadian mountain biking in Spokane’s backyard. Take a scenic drive north along the International Selkirk Loop to the Kootenays of British Columbia. Explore the mountain towns of Rossland, Castlegar, and Nelson. This wilderness playground offers hundreds of mountain biking trails among powerful winding rivers and big mountain vistas.
If you’re looking for big mountain riding without an international border crossing, then head further inland into the Idaho Panhandle. Schweitzer Mountain Resort is located near the mountain town of Sandpoint, Idaho and rises above the impressive Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced pon-duh-rey). The resort offers over 20 miles of cross country and downhill track. If you want even more vertical, the Schweitzer Highpoint Trail connects to 4,000 vertical feet of single track in the Selkirk Recreation District trail system. The resort also offers chairlift and shuttle options to save your legs for the fun descent back down to the resort village.
Stay the night in the mountain village, Sandpoint, or camp nearby at the Green Bay campground on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille. The lake is 43 miles long with 111 miles of shoreline and endless views. Deeper than Loch Ness, this massive lake is the 5th deepest lake in the country. It is also the home to the Navy’s Acoustic Research Detachment and a Navy submarine testing location since WWII.
The Green Bay Campground is accessible by road or by boat. The campground has 11 designated sites with picnic tables, fire rings, vault toilets, and a swimming beach. The campsites are steps from the lake. Campers can drift off to sleep listening to the lake lapping against the rocky shore. The campsites are fee-free, but it should be noted that the access road is not suitable for RV’s or trailers.
Ride North America’s longest gondola and over 30 single track trails at Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho. Offering downhill and trail bikes rentals, Silver Mountain makes it convenient to ride without worrying about transporting your bike. Find the right fit for your skills and abilities with terrain ranging from mellow wider double-track sections to expert-level downhill single track and everything in between. At the base of the mountain in the Gondola Village, riders will find restaurants, bars, bike washing stations, lodging, and even an indoor waterpark.
If you prefer to camp over staying in the village, then head up the road to camp at the nearby Bumblebee campground. Located on Bumblebee Creek near the Little North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene river, this campground offers excellent opportunities for swimming, floating, and fishing. It’s the perfect camping spot for cooling off after a hot summer bike ride. Boasting a large group site for up to 100 people feel free to bring the whole crew. Don’t worry there are also several single-family sites as well.
Bonus Ride: Route of the Hiawatha Bike Trail
If you want your biking adventure to mellow out, then keep heading east on I-90 for 24 miles to Lookout Pass. From there you can access the scenic Route of the Hiawatha Bike Trail — a previously abandoned rail line converted to a biking trail. This 15-mile route is recognized as the “crown jewel of rail-to-trail” featuring 10 train tunnels and 7 sky high trestle crossings. The best part is that it’s all downhill! Start at the top and coast down through the scenic Bitterroot Mountains. Shuttle buses are available at the bottom to take you and your bike back to the top. This is the perfect way to rest your legs after a long day of mountain biking near Spokane.
Whether you bike or hike, Eastern Washington and North Idaho offer endless miles of trails for every skill level with views that will impress even the most
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