With school back in session and Labor Day approaching, some students have already begun wondering how they’ll occupy themselves during the long weekend that stretches from Sept. 3-5.

Gonzaga University’s location in Spokane offers students a collection of outdoor activities to explore.  

One popular place is the trails that lead from the GU campus to the Spokane downtown area, known as the Spokane River Walk trail. This trail is about two miles long and takes an average of 37 minutes to complete. It is also dog-friendly, and wheelchair and stroller accessible, with a good mix of shade and sun. 

“I enjoy going to nearby trails, especially ones with waterfalls or a river nearby,” said Maricia Hernandez, a second-year student, who enjoys hiking, camping, fishing and boating. 

Hernandez described the River Walk Trail as a good way to spend time with friends and family and make fun, exciting memories. 

According to the “AllTrails” website, a popular trail that many hike or bike is the Doomsday Hill to Mission Park. It features different views of the river and  is approximately a 10-mile hike that takes about 3 hours, 20 minutes to finish. It is also a dog-friendly trail as long as they are on a leash. 

Another well-known place that many students visit, especially during the summertime, is the Riverside State Park Bowl & Pitcher. This park is a 2.1-mile hike with many different views of the nature and city around. You can start by hiking across the swinging bridge at the Bowl and Pitcher. When crossing the bridge, you can see a substantial basalt structure rising out of the river. 

“I really like to go to the Bowl & Pitcher State Park and go swimming with all of my friends,” said Connor Robitaille, a second-year student. “Though the water is very cold though so be prepared.”

For the students who have access to transportation or their own vehicles, Hernandez recommends exploring areas outside of Spokane.

“Take advantage of the nature around you,” Hernandez said.

There have been many students who have visited Coeur d’Alene Lake, located in Idaho. It is Northern Idaho’s second-largest lake. Over 26 miles long, the lake has more than 135 miles of shoreline which is dotted with parks, campgrounds, beaches, hiking trails and recreational facilities. The Coeur d’Alene River and St. Joe River are the two principal rivers that feed the lake, and the Spokane River is formed by the lake’s outlet. 

They also offer the fun “Coeur d’Alene Scavenger Hunt: Lovin’ the Lake Life!” Visitors are able to walk to all of the best landmarks and hidden gems, respond to trivia questions and complete challenges. They are offered everyday for $12 per person and each participant selects an interactive role, with varying difficulties.

Downtown Spokane Pavilion holds many different outside events for students and community members. The Pavilion is an outdoor venue with tiered landscaping, a 40-foot-high platform with panoramic views of Spokane’s skyline and the Spokane River and LED lights that transform the area into a kaleidoscope of hues and patterns at night. It is also used for a range of events, including a concert series, cultural activities, the Hoopfest center court, GU basketball watch parties and much more

Sofia Sanchez is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @ItsSofia2021.