Cycling Mt. Spokane Park Drive and Summit Drive
Ride 12.8 miles gaining 3,989’ to elevation 5,838’ at 5.8% average grade.
Come for the climb, stay for the descent. We don’t usually lead with this, but for this one it’s appropriate - this is a Top 10 descent – smooth road, perfect serpentine roadway for much of the upper descent which, along with the steep grade makes for a very exciting and fun descent – one of the best for technical descending. There are fantastic views to the south along the switchbacks beginning after turning onto summit road at mile 9.4 (unfortunately, our visibility was diminished by a significant haze in the distance when we climbed the mountain in August, 2015).
During the lower portion of the climb we are surrounded by thick forest (and as noted above, bordered on one side by Bear Creek). As we approach the last mile, , the trees begin to thin and eventually disappear as we go above treeline and approach the summit at Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park. The final 4 miles on Summit Road are very pleasant with very mild traffic and a 25 mph speed limit - you will not encounter many cars on this stretch of the road.
Log bridge at mile 3.8
Viewpoint at mile 8.4
View near the top of the climb - mile 11.2
This is a very calm and peaceful climb - we pedal alongside the year round Bear Creek for most of the first 7 miles. THE climb (it’s in caps for a reason!) begins at approximately mile 7.4 with a 9.4% grade for about 3.3 miles. The initial and final segments of the climb are at very manageable grades.
Mt. Spokane is in the Seikirk Mountains which is a subrange of the Canadian Rockies. The climb enters Mt. Spokane State Park at mile 5.8. The State Park was established in 1927 and is 12,293 acres.
Roadway surface and Traffic: The roadway is very good throughout, although the last few miles are a bit rougher than the excellent roadway on Mt Spokane Road. Caveat: Make sure to turn left (left is “up” and onto Summit Rd and right/straight is “down” and continuing on Mt. Spokane Rd) – at mile 9.4 – 4 miles to go from here.
PJAMM Contributor Patrick O'Neil, Spokane WA:
Race The Sun" may refer to an evening ride where the goal is to reach the summit before sunset. This particular segment includes the relatively flat section from Forker Rd. The actual climb is a beautiful 10 miles of 6-12% climbing through the forested Mt Spokane. A creek runs next to the climb in the lower sections. Traffic is usually light and patient. One of the great features of this climb is it constantly undulates back and forth, always giving you something new to challenge yourself. The top rewards you with a flattening out and views of all around the Spokane area and East into Idaho. Part of it's "epic" nature is just knowing how many riders make this climb. It has been used many years as a local hill climb race battle that we all enjoy.
PJAMM contributor Bob Britton, Spokane, WA:
A description of climb 97 of 100: Mt. Spokane located in eastern Washington ( the dry side) near beautiful Spokane is also the the location of Washington state’s largest state park. The way up starts on Hwy 206 also known as Mt Spokane Park Dr. I like to start well before "The Climb" to soak up some of the beautiful pastoral scenes and good views of Mt. Spokane. Orient yourself and explore segments embedded along the route beforehand . The road gently winds upward through heavily forested terrain following Deadman Creek drainage. The creek’s waters are often just a few yards off the road and the sounds of the dancing water adds to a calm coolness for a number of miles. The real climbing starts at the park entrance where grades kick up from 2 & 5% to 8 & 10% with few painful 11% punches mixed in. Once you reach a large gravel parking area you will take a hard left turn with 4 more more miles to go. The grades for the next mile are the steepest of the climb but take heart as they are followed by some relatively easy grades. The views now really start to open up. The road makes several long traverses again affording some very nice territorial views. The towers above that come into site are your goal. Once at the top take time to gather in what I believe is some of the finest scenery in the country. There is a bathroom and water at the top. Use caution going down as there are a number dips that are hard to see coming that could launch a rider out of control. Cheers!