#3 Lincoln Park

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Spokane's Best Parks -

In lesser cities, Lincoln Park would be considered the crème-de-le-crème of the park system but, in Spokane, it is ranked third on the list of Spokane’s Best Parks. Bisected in half by a steep bluff that, in places, is a sheer cliff, the upper and lower halves of Lincoln Park are distinctly different environments.

At roughly 51 acres, located in Spokane's Lincoln Park neighborhood, the famed Olmsted brothers recognized the value of Lincoln Park’s dramatic topography and designed a place that has unique flavors for all palettes. The park’s lower portion is a generally flat, tree-lined green with playgrounds and traditional field activities. All and all a generally pleasant yet unremarkable environment as far as parks go. But, for the first time visitor, the immense, thickly wooded bluff that bisects Lincoln Park broods over its lower portion and calls for exploration. In classic Olmsted fashion, a winding narrow drive was built to connect the upper and lower portions of the park. Now closed off to vehicles, the old drive serves as the simplest connection between the upper and lower portions. Look closely, however, and you’ll find trails guiding the adventurous to the upper portion of Lincoln Park. Basalt rocks, weathered and half buried through the years, mark entries onto trails leading up the bluff.

Once you’ve arrived to the upper portion of Lincoln Park, catch your breath, because there’s a lot see. The landscape is so dramatically different between the upper and lower reaches that you might wonder if you’re in the same park. Down below, it’s lush, landscaped, and shaded by both trees and the towering bluff. Atop, it’s kept strictly natural, save for the well-used trail system. With less shade to speak of, the landscape is more sunbaked and parched. Basalt outcrops are everywhere and everywhere looks inviting to explore. The upper park feels immense, and for good reason, there’s a lot to take in. Lincoln Park is well worth the afternoon trip but bring a snack and some water because there is much to discover.

There is much to explore! The greens of lower Lincoln Park are lush and shady.
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