Deep Creek Canyon Loop

The Deep Creek Canyon loop trail winds around the northern section of Riverside State Park without actually crossing Deep Creek. Open Ponderosa forests, fields of wildflowers, sweeping views from the edge of basalt cliffs, and the cooling waters of Deep Creek are just some of the highlights of this loop. The return leads through a moonscape of basalt talus and sky-piercing spires and along the smooth flow of the Spokane River.

Location Channeled Scablands
Rating 3.1 out of 5
Difficulty Moderate (some uphill hiking)
Distance 5.8 miles
Duration 2:07 hours moving time (hiking)
Elevation Gain 881 feet
High Point 2,207 feet (pine bluffs)
Low Point 1,608 feet (Spokane River)
Trail Type Loop
Trailbed Packed dirt, loose rocks, old logging roads
Water Deep Creek and Spokane River, but recommend against taking water from those sources due to agricultural and industrial run-off
Status State Park
Administration Washington Parks and Recreation
Permits Discover Pass required
Conditions Excellent
Camping There is a campground in the Nine-Mile-Falls area
Maps USGS Spokane NW
Trailhead Take I-90 exit #280A (Maple Street) and turn right onto Walnut. Follow Walnut for about 2 miles, then turn left onto W Northwest Boulevard. After .7 miles turn right onto N Cochran Street, then take N Driscoll Boulevard after .1 mile. Continue on Driscoll until you get to the complicated intersection with WA-291; you want to end up going north on WA-291 for about 6 miles. Turn left onto Charles Road, crossing a bridge just below Nine Mile Falls. Shortly after the bridge take a left onto W Carlson Road. This is a narrow paved road. Follow it for half a mile; the trailhead is on the right where the pavement ends.

Google Directions (47.772303, -117.552336)

Season Year-around
Squirrel Density Dogs must be leashed
Features Riverwalk
Distance From
  • Coeur d’Alene 45.8 miles
  • Lewiston 116.1 miles
  • Sandpoint 78.1 miles
  • Seattle 287.1 miles
  • Spokane 11.8 miles
Resources
Nearby Hikes
    Date June 3, 2017

    Back in March we tried to hike Trail 25 in Riverside State Park in its entirety, but were stopped by a torrent of water in Deep Creek. This loop hike completes the area north of Deep Creek and includes a short side trip to the Spokane River.

    There are lots of basalt boulders strewn along the wayAt the trailhead you could actually take the single-track heading northwest into the woods, making sure to take the first left to get back to Carlson Road, crossing it, and heading north to rejoin with Trail 25. We chose instead to cross Carlson Road right away and took the wide trail #402 for a quarter mile uphill. The intersection with Trail 25 is unfortunately not marked; Trail #25 is a much narrower single-track (take a right). The path then heads back towards Carlson Road but veers sharply westwards just before reaching it. It continues to parallel Carlson Road up to around the 1-mile mark, then heads south through light Ponderosa forest, filled, it seemed, with mosquitoes. They weren’t horrible as long as one moved at a nice clip, but any pause meant swarms nosediving on us like squadrons of Spitfires. Luckily we brought Deet and Buffs.

    Watch out at this intersection near the 2-mile mark. Trail #25 crosses the log and veers away to the leftAround the 2-mile mark the path turned left (this is marked, but watch out because Trail 25 is blocked by a fallen log) and leads you to the edge of the bluff with some amazing views. Venture out to the left a bit towards the powerlines for nice views, a bench and an osprey nest on a powerline pole below.

    …the view that stunned NaughtyThe trail continues south along the bluff’s edge for a half mile and the views just get better. Then the trail descends, crossing basalt talus slopes, and heads into open forest. It switchbacks and reroutes northwards to another switchback. If you want to connect to the Riverside State Park Loop, take a right and follow #25 to West Pine Bluff Road, cross it and head eastwards to West Seven Mile Road. Cross that and continue to North Inland Road, which is the place where the Riverside State Park Loop trail guide left off.

    Deep CreekInstead, we took the #410 connector trail, which leads lower through light Ponderosa forest and dead-ends after a few more switchbacks at the eastern section of Trail #25 (along #410, when in doubt, take a right). Take a right onto Trail #25, and follow it sharply lower through basalt rock formations to Deep Creek Canyon and continue until you reach the creek bottom. The picture here was entirely different from what we encountered in March. Gone is the torrid rage of the creek, replaced by a meandering brook that’s easily traversed by rock-hopping!

    … talus slopes, …Turn around and head back up Trail #25 to the fork with trail #411 at the 3.5-mile mark. This is an interesting section of trail, where you hike among tall spires and columns of basalt rock, through sweeping talus fields, and gape through narrow chasms into Deep Creek canyon. It reminded us of a moonscape!

    A mignificient spire on trail #400Trail #411 ends at the paved Centennial Trail where Deep Creek merges into the Spokane River. Follow the river downstream for maybe a quarter-mile, then take trail #400, which leads uphill into the pine forest. Just before the 5-mile mark you will reach an exceedingly impressive lone basalt spire. Shortly afterwards trail #400 reunites with trail #25, which you will take northbound back to the trailhead.

    Enjoy this hike? Let us know in the comments below!

    Trail #402 is a wide single-track framed by arrowleaf balsam root
    Trail #402 is a wide single-track framed by arrowleaf balsam root
    The western section of trail #25 is a double-track leading through light pine forest. Watch out for mosquitoes
    The western section of trail #25 is a double-track leading through light pine forest. Watch out for mosquitoes
    There are lots of basalt boulders strewn along the way
    There are lots of basalt boulders strewn along the way
    Watch out at this intersection near the 2-mile mark. Trail #25 crosses the log and veers away to the left
    Watch out at this intersection near the 2-mile mark. Trail #25 crosses the log and veers away to the left
    The first nice views as you approach the edge of the basalt cliffs near the powerlines
    The first nice views as you approach the edge of the basalt cliffs near the powerlines
    Ospreys nesting atop the powerline pole
    Ospreys nesting atop the powerline pole
    Arnica in full bloom. The arrowleaf balsamroot blooms are already over
    Arnica in full bloom. The arrowleaf balsamroot blooms are already over
    Naughty stunned by the view…
    Naughty stunned by the view…
    …the view that stunned Naughty
    …the view that stunned Naughty
    There are occasional benches along the edge of the bluffs
    There are occasional benches along the edge of the bluffs
    View from southern end of bluffs
    View from southern end of bluffs
    Crossing a talus field while descending from the bluffs
    Crossing a talus field while descending from the bluffs
    Thimbleberry blossom?
    Thimbleberry blossom?
    Connector trail #410 leads through nicely shaded woods
    Connector trail #410 leads through nicely shaded woods
    Basalt rock formations
    Basalt rock formations
    Deep Creek Canyon far below
    Deep Creek Canyon far below
    Deep Creek
    Deep Creek
    That really large boulder in the middle of the creek corresponds to the picture with a tree caught on the tip of rock in the Riverside State Park trail guide. It was essentially submerged, making crossing all but impossible
    That really large boulder in the middle of the creek corresponds to the picture with a tree caught on the tip of rock in the Riverside State Park trail guide. It was essentially submerged, making crossing all but impossible
    Crossing Deep Creek is a rock hop, unless you go out of your way to get your paws wet
    Crossing Deep Creek is a rock hop, unless you go out of your way to get your paws wet
    Deep Creek
    Deep Creek
    A "moonscape" of spires,…
    A “moonscape” of spires,…
    ...caves, columns,
    …caves, columns,
    … talus slopes, …
    … talus slopes, …
    …and chasms
    …and chasms
    Deep Creek confluence with Spokane River
    Deep Creek confluence with Spokane River
    Spokane River near the Deep Creek confluence
    Spokane River near the Deep Creek confluence
    Kayakers floating down the Spokane towards Nine Mile Falls
    Kayakers floating down the Spokane towards Nine Mile Falls
    Spokane River from the Centennial Trail
    Spokane River from the Centennial Trail
    Trail #400 uphill through open forest
    Trail #400 uphill through open forest
    A mignificient spire on trail #400
    A mignificient spire on trail #400
    Trail #25 back to the trailhead is mostly single-track
    Trail #25 back to the trailhead is mostly single-track
    Dark Brown: Deep Creek Canyon Loop; Light Brown: Riverside State Park Loop
    Dark Brown: Deep Creek Canyon Loop; Light Brown: Riverside State Park Loop

    Alternate Routes

    • Connect to the Riverside State Park Loop trail #25 (see separate trail guide)


    © 2016 – 2017 NaughtyHiker. All rights reserved. No duplication without permission.

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