Inland Northwest Trails Coalition




Current Project

Fish Lake Trail



If our website has been helpful please consider a donation to help support our organization or one of our trail projects.

Suggested donation:
Non-profit organization, business,
or unit of government $50.00
Individual/Family $20.00
Senior $10.00

The Inland Northwest Trails Coalition is a 501(c)(3) organization. Membership Donations and Contributions are tax deductible within the provisions of the law.


Marshall Overpass

INTC as a 501 C 3 organization has established a trail fund for completion of the Fish Lake Trail from Scribner Road to Fish Lake and the Columbia Plateau Trail (Phase 3). Donations will go directly to the trail and not be used for administrative costs or by INTC or Parks. To use PayPal click the Donate button in the left box.
Make sure to specify Fish Lake Trail Fund in PayPal special instructions to INTC. To send in a donation by mail specify Fish Lake Trail Fund and mail to:
INTC PO Box 3331, Spokane, WA 99220-3331

Fish Lake Trail - by Dan Schaffer

One of the hidden gems of the Spokane area is an old abandoned Union Pacific rail line that runs from the corner of Sunset Highway and Government way, parallels State Highway 195 and then the Cheney Spokane Road and ends up at Fish Lake near Cheney. Most people are now familiar with the paved section that starts at Fish Lake and runs about three miles to Cheney then continues as a gravel road and is named the Columbia Plateau trail. See Map.

A growing number of local residents are now dedicated to seeing that the Spokane section of this trail, known locally as the Fish Lake Trail, also gets completely paved and eventually connected to the Centennial Trail via the Sandifur Bridge. Cyclists of all ages (it is flat and good for children), strollers, rollerbladers, runners, walkers and in the winter, cross country skiers or snowshoers all enjoy this trail.



Dog with stickCross Country Ski

The Fish Lake Trail right-of-way is owned by the city of Spokane and is under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department. The city is committed to improving and paving this trail and connecting it at either end. Once this is completed, it will most likely be included in the Columbia Plateau Trail State Park. Engineering studies have already been done for most of this work, and the only thing left is to raise the money to continue the renovation process. The total estimated cost, including the construction of two bridges over the railway lines, is $6 million.

The city recently completed Phase Two of the project by combining a $1 million dollar state grant that was awarded in 2007 with about $800,000 in federal stimulus money. There is already a request for additional federal money to proceed with Phase Three and the Parks Department intends to apply for more state money as well. Local fund raising will begin soon and a sponsorship program is anticipated.

Completion of the Fish Lake Trail is a primary goal of the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition (INTC), which is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to all things "trail" in the greater Spokane area. An affiliated assembly of dedicated local citizens operating as the Fish Lake Trail Action Group will solicit local sponsors for specific projects relating to the completion of this trail. If you would like to help contact Dan Schaffer.

One of the great benefactors of this trail renovation so far has been REI, which has adopted the trail as its Eastern Washington public service project. For several years it organized a cleanup of trash and brush along the trail, created temporary Trailheads as needed and painted over graffiti. For future clean-up projects contact Joshua Hess at REI 509-328-9900 or

Fat Tire GroupFish Lake Clean-up

Another organization that deserves thanks is the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, which, through Louise McGrody, has supplied public relations materials and financial support, and which organized a day of lobbying the state legislators, thereby helping to acquire the $1 million in state money. Louise serves as co-chair of the Fish lake Trail Action group.

The advantage of a non motorized transportation corridor between Spokane and Cheney will only become more important as the two cities continue to grow toward each other. The trail will also become a vital link in a future cross-state system that will include the Centennial Trail, The Columbia Plateau Trail and the Iron Horse/John Wayne Trail. Additional proposed connections between the Columbia Plateau trail and the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes will make the Spokane area a bicycle rider’s paradise. Join us in making this dream come true.

Daniel J. Schaffer, M.D. Co-chair Fish Lake Trail Action group.

About Phase 2 Spokesman Review 3/20/2009- Read the Whole Story Here

Fish Lake Trail Project Phase 2 Completed Fall 2009

Trailhead completed on S Milton Cir. just off the Sunset Highway near the intersection with Government Way.

TH ParkingTrailhead

Four bridges were rehabilitated and built for safety and passage.

Crossing I90

Completed a graded crossing for
Marshall Road

Marshall Road Crossing

4.4 miles of the route from Government Way near Sunset Highway have been paved
and connect to several miles that were already paved near Marshall making a total paved distance of just over 7 miles with mile and half mile markers along the way.

Paved TrailMile Markers

Also added in this section were several benches.

Bench and RunnerBench

There is still an unpaved area in between Scribner Rd and Fish Lake (near Cheney) where the Fish Lake Trail will meet the Columbia Plateau Trail . There are issues yet to resolve with 2 areas of the trail that cross live railroad tracks. Cyclists can leave the trail at Scribner Rd. and continue to Cheney/Columbia Plateau Trail on the Spokane-Cheney Rd. for about 2 miles.


Total cost for the Phase 2 project was about $2 million, she said. About $1 million had already been obtained through the state, subject to matching funds.

The Spokane Regional Transportation Council Board launched the Phase 2 effort by awarding $778,317 to the project, or nearly 8 percent of the $10.4 million it received in federal stimulus funding it’s responsible for allocating to Spokane County government agencies.

Phase 3

Now that construction of Phase 2 is completed, the city of Spokane is actively pursuing funding for Phase 3, which would connect the current trail from Scribner Road to Fish Lake. Engineering studies for this section of the trail, which will include two bridges over existing rail lines, have been completed. Final design work and agreements from both Union Pacific and Burlington Northern are needed before construction can begin.  Applications for both state and federal funds have been submitted, and there is a good chance that money will be available for this phase of the project.
One of the criteria for acquiring these funds, is that there be some amount of local matching money. It is for this reason that the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition is asking for your help. INTC is a non-profit, 501c3 corporation, and donations to it can be tax deductible. INTC has set up a special fund for the Fish Lake Trail and is currently accepting public donations. 100% of all money collected will be used for completing the last phase of the trail. Our goal is to raise $400,000, which represents about 10% of the project cost.
Please use the PayPal account link on the left side of this page and indicate Fish Lake Trail in the comments or send your tax-deductible contributions to:
Note that your donation is for the Fish Lake Trail

Inland Northwest Trails Coalition
PO Box 3331
Spokane, WA 99220-3331

Contact Dan Schaffer at: if you have any questions.

Phase 3 would pave a beautiful section of trail that passes Queen Lucas Lake and adds the final connection to Fish Lake, Cheney and the Columbia Plateau Trail.

Railroad CrossingNo tresspassing sign


Blazing StarQueen Lucus Lake