Riverside State Park – Spokane, WA
If you arrive at Riverside State Park from the north, you will travel via Nine Mile Road. If you arrive from the south, you will travel via Government Way. Both routes are marked with enough signs to get you there. I used the Government Way route, and my initial reaction when entering the road to the State Park was, “you have got to be kidding.”
The road via this route is paved; however, it’s a very narrow, winding road for about 4 miles. If you are driving toward the park on this road, you are driving along a very tall rocky earth berm with a very tiny “might as well not exist” shoulder area. If you are driving away from the park on this road, well, make sure all of your wheels are inside the road lane and don’t go over the edge or you will go over the bank and into the river (not much shoulder area on that side, either). At about two miles in, there is a water reclamation site. Employees of the reclamation site park their cars precariously along the side of the highway, so you have to be careful through that section, especially if another car is coming the other way. If you are familiar with Spokane, I recommend getting yourself to the north part of Spokane, then travel along Francis Avenue, which goes into the Nine Mile Road route.
The non-utility sites are on the upper campground. The utility sites are all on the river (except for Site #5). When I initially made my reservation, Site #5, which is across the road from the river, was the only one available. This site is located in a very inconvenient spot. It’s a “pull-through,” but you have to make a very tight, almost a U-turn, to be able to “pull-through.” I missed the turn, and ended up backing into it. (Don’t take this site unless you are desperate to stay there and it’s the only one left.) Also, you are allowed one RV and one tow vehicle. I didn’t tow a vehicle, but I subsequently rented a car from Enterprise Rental Car. The Park Ranger told me this was ok, as it was within the “one allowed vehicle” limit, but the Camp Host told me that since I didn’t “tow” the car in, but instead, got the car AFTER the fact, it was considered an “extra vehicle” and I would have to pay an “extra vehicle” fee.
Other park staff personnel finally assured me that the rental car was ok. Snafus and terror driving aside, this is a beautiful park, and the sites on the river are the best. You get a somewhat spacious area where there is a picnic table and fire ring. There is also plenty of space to pitch an additional tent. The shower token machines were broken, so showers were FREE this week. YAY! The showers weren’t sparkling, but they were passable, I recommend that you wear shower shoes.
The park ranger makes a drive through the park every night between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM, and when storms were coming up (and there was a big one that night!), the ranger stopped and mentioned it to those who had their awnings out. There is also a picnic area, and hiking area. Lastly, the Enterprise Rental Car office on Francis Avenue told me they get a small, but steady amount of business from people who stay at the State Park. However, be forewarned that if you use this option, you may run into the “extra vehicle” snafu……