The Spokane River Falls are Spokane’s finest natural attraction, as well as the heart of Riverfront Park. Located in the core of Spokane, the falls of the Spokane River flow and often rage as the seasons change. The Spokane River flows from Lake Coeur d’Alene to Lake Roosevelt and the Spokane Falls are perhaps the most dramatic transition along the 111 mile run. From the earliest of times, the Spokane Falls were a gathering place for the Spokane Tribe of Indians as a source of food and beauty. Many generations later the falls became a gathering place for all nations with EXPO 74 and is still shared daily by people from around the world.
Early settlement around the falls began in 1871 with the construction of a water driven sawmill on the south bank of the river. In 1873 the original sawmill was purchased, along with 160 acres, with the hidden intent of establishing a town. Within only a few years, the development of the City of Spokane had begun and industry began to take over the downtown riverfront. In the late 1940’s the beautiful and bountiful Spokane Falls had fallen victim to industrial pollution, rail yards, and factories. By 1961 the falls industrial district had become a focus of concern and the City of Spokane adopted its first Master Plan for this area focused on urban renewal. In 1964 the city adopted the Riverfront and Great Gorge Park Development Statement which directed new urban projects to clean up and improve the riverfront area. Conceptually this ideal opened the doors for revitalization which came to fruition in the form of the 1974 Worlds Fair. The world expo, ironically, was focused on environmentalism and provided the perfect platform for revitalization and a green future. The newly restored Riverfront Park drew people to the falls, brought the green message and prosperity to the people of Spokane on many levels.
Today the Spokane Falls are a pristine Northwest attraction drawing tens of thousands of spectators throughout the year. The best time of the year to view the alls is in early spring when the winter run-off rages. The best view of the falls comes from the gondola cars of the Spokane Falls SkyRide. There are as well several stationary viewpoints throughout the park. These viewpoints are highlighted on our park map which can be downloaded from this site. We look forward to sharing this spectacular regional treasure with you upon your next visit to the park. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
Check out this winter video as shown on MSN. It really is Riverfront Park, not Waterfront.