After a night of rest at one for Grand Coulee’s RV parks, you can head east over to Fort Spokane. Located at the juncture of the Columbia and Spokane Rivers in Washington State, Fort Spokane is a historic site established in 1880, it served diverse roles as a military outpost during the frontier era, an Indian Boarding School, and a tuberculosis hospital, each leaving its unique mark on the area. Make a quick stop at the on-site visitor center to get an immersive look into these eras through detailed exhibits of the soldiers, local tribes, and boarding school students.
Beyond its rich history, Fort Spokane offers an enchanting display of natural beauty, nestled within the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. This is a great place to stop for some early morning outdoor activities such as camping, boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking, or simple bird watching.
Nestled along the banks of the Columbia River in NE Washington, Kettle Falls is a quaint town steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty. Originally, the location was home to one of the most productive salmon fishing sites in the region for local tribes, but the waterfall known as Kettle Falls was submerged after the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam. Now, the town serves as a gateway to the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
Visitors can enjoy a plethora of activities such as boating, swimming, fishing, and camping along the 130-mile stretch of the lake. For hiking and wildlife viewing, the nearby Colville National Forest and Sherman Pass Scenic Byway offer lush landscapes and diverse fauna.
History buffs can learn about the region’s rich past at the Kettle Falls Historical Center, which features exhibits on Native American history, early settlers, and the influence of the Grand Coulee Dam. The town is also in proximity to the Fort Colville site and St. Paul’s Mission, both significant historical sites providing a glimpse into the frontier era.
Located just a quarter mile from the Canadian border, but within the boundaries of Crawford State Park, is Gardner Cave. This magnificent natural wonder, known as the third longest limestone cave in the state, offers visitors a unique underground adventure that you won’t find in very many places. Formed over millions of years, the cave boasts an array of spectacular geological features, including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, and rimstone pools.
Upon entering Gardner Cave, visitors are enveloped in a subterranean world, where temperatures remain cool throughout the year and a calming silence pervades. Guided tours illuminate the cave’s intriguing features and shed light on its formation, ecology, and history but walking around by yourself is plenty fun on its own. Be on the lookout as you walk around though, because you should be prepared to encounter the cave’s resident bat population, which is harmless but can give you a surprise if you’re not ready.