Riverside State Park
9711 W. Charles, Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026
Park Office: (509) 465-5064
Park Manager: (509) 465-5065


Horse Riding

by Ken Carmichael

Horses are very welcome at Riverside State Park! Over 25 miles of varied landscape await the horse rider. Some of these miles are dedicated solely to horse-back use, some are shared use with hikers and bicycles.  

It is possible to travel by horseback from one end of the park to the other.  This is most easily accomplished by following the “25 Mile Trail”.  See Maps.

Remember to ride safe, have a good time and show other park visitors what courtesy is all about. 

 Safety First.  This is a multi-use park we must always be aware of other recreationalists on the trail and at trailheads.  This entails controlling our animals, following the rules of the road and leaving a clean trailhead.  The official rules of the road indicate that hikers and bikers yield to horsemen.  But let's be realistic, and courteous, and where we can more easily move off the trail lets do it.

Riverside is the second largest state park in Washington.  There are 8900 acres, over 36 miles of trails and 47 miles of back roads.  It is a long, somewhat narrow park basically following the Spokane River.  This large park is on the northwest edge of Spokane which provides an excellent riding area in close proximity to Spokane. 

The best way to learn your way around the park is with a map. These are available at several retail stores and at the park headquarters.  Generally speaking there are several equestrian trailheads.  Some are larger than others and better accommodate a horse trailer.  Some of these, starting at the north end of the park, include:

Carlson Rd: This is a small, paved lot that can handle about two trailers.  There is a restroom.

Pine Bluff/Seven Mile Rd.: This gravel parking area can easily handle a half dozen trailers.  It does not have a restroom.

Deep Creek: This gravel parking area can handle a couple of trailers but on a busy weekend it could be difficult to turn around.  It does not have a restroom.

Inland Rd: This gravel parking area, primarily used by equestrians, can handle about 6 trailers and does not have a restroom.

McLellan: This paved parking area does not have good trailer parking but on a slow day could accommodate them.  There is a restroom.

Wilbur: This paved parking area does not have good trailer parking.  It is smaller than McLellan and getting turned around could be a problem.  There is a restroom.

Equestrian Area: I saved this one for last.  It is at the far south end of the park.  The area provides good equestrian parking.  A 10-20 space equestrian campground is being developed in the spring of 2012 and there is an arena.   There are two restrooms.  This is the one area of the park that has been designated for equestrians.  While hikers are allowed, bikes are only allowed to go through on the Centennial Trail.  Access to the rest of the park is provided by going up on the abandon railroad right of way to get around the Bowl & Pitcher area.  This area can also be used for some large events so access may be limited at those times. 

The recommended trailheads are: Equestrian Area, Pine Bluff and Inland Rd.  These provide equestrians with good access to the south, north and middle portions of the park.

The equestrian trails are primarily dirt, single track, although there are some two track trails.  Because they vary in difficulty it is an excellent location to get new experiences for you, and your horse.  The southern end of the park provides some very easy trails (and no bikes in the Equestrian Area) while at the north end taking the trail through Deep Creek provides an opportunity to ride on a steep side hill.  There are no water crossings, except when crossing Deep Creek in the spring west of the ORV area and in the ORV area.

There are some areas that equestrians are specifically not allowed to ride.  We are working on signs for these areas but they may not always be available.  They include the area around the Bowl & Pitcher (on both sides of the river) and any area identified as a natural Forest Area or Natural Area Preserve.  While horses are allowed in the Off Road Vehicle (ORV) area please remember that this area is the only area in the park that Off Road Vehicles may be used.  It is their area and we are there as guests.  Unless you need to go through, and your horse is accustomed to motor cycles, it is recommended that you take an alternate route.

Discover Pass:  The Discover Pass must be displayed on your vehicle when visiting state recreation lands managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The fine for not displaying the pass is $99.  

Equestrian Area,

Be sure to visit the Inland Empire Backcountry Horsemen* website!


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