Mount Spokane is the highest point in Spokane County and it is one of the tallest peaks in the Inland Northwest. Mount Spokane is surrounded by Mount Spokane State Park, the largest of Washington's State Parks at 13,919 acres. Mount Spokane even has a small non-profit organization that operates the Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, located on the southwest portion of the mountain. In summer you can drive to the top. In spring, snow patches keep the road closed and make for a short hike to reach the summit. Mt. Spokane is number 33 on the Washington Prominence List and the highest point in Spokane County. Although there are miles and miles of hiking and ski trails, this page focuses on the summit area.
Vista House 2007
Final half mile is closed in late spring, plan on walking
Mount Spokane - Vista House & Former Sites
Washington Sights & Attractions
Distance: Drive-up in summer
Summit Elevation: 5,883 feet
View west to Mt. Kit Carson
View east into Idaho
Hiking up the road
From Spokane, drive north on Hwy. 2 to Hwy. 206. Follow Hwy. 206 for 15 miles to park entrance.
Newspapers show plans were being made as early as 1921 to erect a lookout on the summit so Mount Spokane's use as a lookout likely predate the 1920's. Newspapers show lookout personal employed in the early 30's on the summit. Finally in 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the Vista House at the highest point using native stone found on the summit. This was the first lookout structure on the mountain, built on the second level at the north end of the building. The structure today is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register and will have a staffed interpretive center by 2016. The second lookout was built in 1948 after a road was made to the summit the previous year, it was a 84 foot high ring connected creosoted wooden live-in R-6 tower 14 x14 feet, but it fell down the first winter due to the severe weather and ice overload. Because of the large number of visitors to Mt. Spokane State Park, reports say "an effort was made to make this an especially attractive lookout." The third structure was a 45 foot pole tower with L-4 cab built in 1950. The fourth structure was a 40 foot DNR live-in tower built in 1963. Finally, the fifth structure was another 40 foot DNR live-in tower built in 1979. This last tower was staffed until 1994, dismantled in 2001 and placed on top of Quartz Mountain in 2004 (see link above). Mt. Spokane is said to hold the record for more reported wildfires than any of the other fire lookouts in Washington.
Summit map showing locations of all 5 structures. The 1948 structure has at least 2 footings left, found under small trees. The 1950, 1963 and 1979 towers have some hard to locate mostly buried footings and eyebolts all around the turn-round. The 1934 Vista House is obvious.
1949 crushed lookout
Turn-round at the south point
Second story lookout 2015 (just before the stairs are to be put in place).
Benchmark at the south point
Benchmark at the north point
Inside the Vista House
Lookout guardians Ray Kresek & Steve Christensen
Footing from 1948 tower
Eyebolt from towers at the turn-round