Outdoor Activities

A unique urban walk in Spokane, Washington!

People riding Gondolajj
Gondola ride across Spokane River

By Dan Friesen, Guide for Walking Adventures International
We recently planned a walk route through the delightful city of Spokane, Washington. The original route for this walk was put together by a local club, the Lilac City Volkssport Association, and we adjusted the route to accommodate our walking group.
The starting point of our trail was found at Gonzaga University, which lies on the outskirts of the historic district, picturesquely set on the banks of the Spokane River. Founded in the late 19th century by Jesuit priests, Gonzaga is evidence of a strong regional presence by Catholics earlier in the century due to their work with local Native American tribes.
An unexpected attraction of this campus is a room dedicated to the achievements of native son, Bing Crosby. The popular crooner was born and raised on the edge of campus and reportedly left school on somewhat less than amicable terms before earning his degree. Fame, however, was apparently accompanied by forgiveness, and now Gonzaga claims him as their own and has awarded him an honorary doctorate. Bing’s achievements in the field of music are, of course, legendary, and multiple gold (along with a couple platinum) albums are on display, amidst photos of Bing hanging around with other legends of his era.
The Centennial Trail runs from Spokane to the Washington border and continues deep into Idaho. We joined the trail headed west into the heart of town and wandered through the grounds of the 1974 World’s Fair (also known as Expo ‘74). The fair was held on a promontory jutting out into the waters of the Spokane River. A dramatic series of cascades drops the river through powerhouses, beneath a plethora of delightful footbridges, and onto the western edge of the historic district. If you need a break at this point, there are many eateries in the downtown/Riverfront Park area to explore.
The river and a series of parks give downtown Spokane a relaxed blend of urban and rural, and we had no trouble crafting a pleasing, multi-faceted 6-mile walk from elements of the local club’s walk route, highlights of Gonzaga University, the Centennial Trail, the Spokane River, Riverfront Park, the Victorian and early 20th century architecture featured downtown, and a fun series of park sculptures.
Walk in Spokane

If you have more time to check out Spokane, take a moment to stop by the verdant grounds of Manito Park and Botanical Gardens, featuring the impressive, Versailles-like Duncan Gardens. A relaxing stroll through this park is a wonderful complement to a day spent in Spokane. Another fun stop in the area is the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in the historic Browne’s Addition, a collection of Victorian-era homes built by wealthy owners of the Idaho mines.
If you have questions on this article or would like to receive more information on this walk route through Spokane, contact the Walking Adventures International office at 800.779.0353 or This article was submitted by Walking Adventures International, a small travel company based in Vancouver, Washington offering tours with walks and sightseeing throughout the world.