The Northeast region of Washington serves as the cradle of many geological wonders that are waiting to be explored. The process began tens of thousands of years ago when Lake Missoula gave way to a glacial ice dam that went plummeting across eastern Washington leaving many remnants of its journey in its wake. The better known of these awe-inspiring landforms include the Channeled Scablands on the Columbia Plateau and the Palouse Hills that surround them.
Modern geologists state that the earth was scoured and what was left in place are gorged channels like the Drumheller Channels and basalt composites like the 800-foot tall Steamboat Rock. Enduring waterfalls and magnificent parks can also be found in the Northeast region of Washington state. While much of the region north of Spokane is rugged and uninhabited, Spokane serves as a lively city for which to make your base.
For unfettered views of Northeast Washington, Colville National Forest is comprised of dense foliage and the Selkirk and Kettle mountain ranges. Offering multiple trails for adventurous hikes, the 1.1-million-acre forest is home to the elusive woodland caribou, grizzly bears, and wolves.
A little further to the north in Crawford State Park, Gardner Cave is the third-longest limestone cave in the state. Here, you can take a guided tour and descend 90 feet beneath the earth’s surface to view stalagmites. Feel free to give the limestone formations imaginative names to go along with Lopsided Wedding Cake, Queen’s Throne, and the Frog.
For activities closer to Spokane, Cat Tales Zoological Park is a big cat sanctuary and wildlife rescue. In addition to cats like the African Lion, Bengal Tiger, and the Puma, the sanctuary provides a home for misplaced black bears. For a fee you can take part in supervised activities like feeding the animals. The park offers private spaces for events and school tours.
Spokane Valley is known for harvests of fresh fruit including grapes for wine, apples, cherries, and strawberries. Green Bluff is home to numerous orchards and farms that hold seasonal events to celebrate the bounties throughout the year. Enjoy the popular Apple Festival in the Fall and the annual Cherry Picker’s Trot each July.
To learn more about the region, the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum explores the lives of early settlers and indigenous tribes. From the Gold Rush to farming in the Valley, learn how life evolved in the seemingly unfettered Northeast region of Washington.
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The soil around Spokane produces top quality varietals for award-winning wines and unforgettable tasting experiences. Visit an area vineyard like Arbor Crest Wine Cellars located at the historic Cliff House Estate. Sit back and sip crisp whites and smooth reds at the tasting room of Barrister Winery in downtown Spokane. Relax and let your palette discover the fruits of Washington’s Spokane Valley and Columbia Valley vineyards.
Spokane offers world-class golfing on courses dotting the rolling green hills of Northeastern Washington. Indian Canyon is a public course offering challenging slopes from its perch on a cliff on the north side of Spokane and has been named several times as one of the best public courses in the U.S. by Golf Digest.
With much of Northeastern Washington lying in the foothills of the Rockies, there are plenty of places to ski and snowboard near Spokane. Get ready to let the powder fly as you race down the slopes at Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard park. Freestylers will enjoy the artfully created Terrain Park at 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort in Chewelah. Both ski resorts are less than a two-hour drive from Spokane.