Spokane - 2. Harvard Park to Mirabeau Park (Upper)

Spokane, Washington, US


2. Harvard Park to Mirabeau Park (Upper)

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 5.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 20 fpm

Upper Spokane

Upper Spokane

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-12419000 1000 - 40000 cfs II 00h42m 1840 cfs (running)

River Description

The run described is from Harvard Park to Mirabeau park (old zoo site). About 2.5 miles can be shaved by putting in at the Barker bridge and taking out at Sullivan park. You won't miss much, but if you enjoy a longer float use the described access points.

Description: The "upper" is an urban float that offers a nice training ground for beginner paddlers. It is used by local paddling clubs for training. This section is also included in the Spokane river race held annually in spring. On nice, warm, sunny days in the summer expect to see little rubber rafts, canoes, kayaks, inner tubes, and the occassional snorkler!!!

To reach the upper put-in, take the Liberty Lake exit off I-90 and go north on Harvard rd across the river. Turn left down a dirt road to Harvard park. To reach the take-out, return to the freeway and travel west to the Evergreen exit, go north to the light and turn left into Maribeau and go to the parking lot. The take-out is just a short hike from the eddy on river left up to the parking lot.
From the put-in, easy flowing CL I till Barker rd bridge (2 miles). A long slow right turn flows over shallow river rock and can be bumpy at lower flows. The current is steady for the next 1/2 mile then enters Flora rapids. Expect lively Cl II waves and dodging a few obvious boulders and holes. This rapid can get tricky and there is a nice long recovery pool where you can empty your canoe if troubles occur. On river left at flows between 5500-7500cfs, a nice playwave makes an appearance. THis is Mini-Climax and is a dynamic wave with potential for loops, blunts, carts, etc. Eddy service is fair. If you miss the eddy on river left, it is a simple carry back up. Be wary of poison ivy! Mini-climax can also be a park and play wave.

The next rapid is Sullivan and here is where another playhole is located. The run is typically right down the middle through a short wavetrain, avoiding the playhole (if desired). You'll know you've reached Sullivan by the waiting lines of local and regional paddlers awaiting their turn in the hole. Ideal flow for playing is 2200-3350cfs. Park and play here as well.

For the next 1/2 mile expect lively rapids that dwindle as you near the Sullivan Park take-out on river right just past the bridge. If you continue on, there are no hazards or distinct rapids except as noted here: At high flows be wary of severe undercurrents and whirlpools just below the take-out at Mirabaeu on river left. These can be very treacherous. Not a problem in flows below 5,000cfs. The take-out is on the left.
Another caution:Deaths have occurred on the upper due to a combination of inexperience and ill-equipped paddlers who mistake sunny hot spring weather as an open invitation to float the river while at spring highflows. Hypothermia is a serious threat as the swims can be long.

Local "expert": Mick "Holehog" French mcholehog@yahoo.com Nine Mile Falls, Wa.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2005-01-31 18:56:25


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

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