Mount Spokane Group

Exploring Mt. Spokane, the Jewel of
Eastern Washington
Alejandra Calzadillas, Hannah Rolli, Lilia
Vasyukhnevich, & Shasta Wright
On May 24th, 2014, our group researched Quartz Mountain at Mt. Spokane
State Park and went on a research hiking trip. Our goal was to search for rock
outcrops as well as research the vegetation, area wildlife, the history of the
park and the available recreation activities around the park.
Area History
• Mt. Spokane State Park began as a small
privately owned parcel of land in northeast
Spokane County. Before being called Mt.
Spokane, the mountain was called Mount
Carlton or Mount Baldy (Arksey, 2006) .
Mount Spokane during the summertime.
• After officially becoming a state park, the
mountain was developed into a major
recreational area for Eastern Washington,
providing great facilities for winter and
summer activities.
• Millennia of erosion and weathering have
worn it to its present height and rounded
form. The mountain rises 5,883 feet,
although it was once higher than its
previous level.
State Park Sign at Mount Spokane.
GPS coordinates to the parking lot at Quartz Mountain:
47°.90452, -117°.10233
Take the Argonne exit from U.S. I-90
and continue north to Mount
Spokane Park Drive, continuing
three miles past the park entrance.
Turn right and park in the parking lot
0.1 miles in.
Map of route to Quartz Mtn. from Spokane Valley
Mount Spokane Geology
• The rocks that compose Mt. Spokane are Cretaceous aged,
two-mica (biotite and muscovite), granites. (Weissenborn &
Weis 1976)
• These granites have intruded a Precambrian banded gneiss
that is composed of quartz, feldspar, biotite, and muscovite.
(Weissenborn &Weis 1976)
Mt. Spokane Granite with muscovite flakes
Correlation of Map Units
Description of Map Units
Geologic Map of the Mt. Spokane Quadrangle
(Weissenborn & Weis 1976)
Site Geology
• Site 2 is a granitic outcrop
interspersed with
plagioclase feldspar and
quartz, +/- biotite at the
foot of Mt. Spokane Drive
Figure 3: Granitic Outcrop
• This outcrop has prevalent
muscovite flakes ranging in
size from 1cm to 4 inches
Figure 4: Plagioclase feldspar with predominant
muscovite flakes
Site 3
• Site three is also a granitic
outcrop about ½ mile south of
site 2 on Mt. Spokane drive that
features granite with muscovite,
plagioclase feldspar and quartz,
+/- biotite.
• This granite shows evidence of
foliation which indicates
Figure 5: Foliated Granite
• Garnets found in some of the
rocks also indicate
Figure 6: Garnet embedded within pegmatite
Site 4
• Site four is the same
granite as the first two
outcrops about two
miles south of site 3
• This outcrop has no
foliation but exhibited
much more weathering
than the first two
Figure 6: No foliation in this granite!!
There is a diverse variety of animals that live at Mt. Spokane
State Park and the surrounding area, including several
species on the Federal Concern or Endangered list.
Carnivorous animals
Pika, Pygmy shrew, bats
Rocky Mountain elk, White-tailed deer,
Small mammals
Gray wolf, Canadian lynx, wolverine,
Northern goshawk, Boreal owl,
Common tortoiseshell butterfly
(Pacific Biodiversity Institute)
Photo of moose at Mt. Spokane, courtesy of Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park
On the hike at Quartz
Mountain we came across
the Round-leaved violet
(Viola orbiculata) which
features small yellow blooms
as well as lupine and ferns.
Mt. Spokane has
approximately 192 species
throughout the park including
many different flowers, trees,
grasses, and ground bushes.
(Vascular Plant List, WNPS, 2006)
Violet orbiculata on Trail 100 at Quartz Mountain
The website describes numerous
hiking and biking trails, and 100
miles of horse trails. Other
activities include bird watching,
and wildlife viewing
Trail leading up to Quartz Mountain Lookout.
In the winter snowshoeing,
snowmobiling, skiing, and
snowboarding are just a few
activities one can take part in.
(WA State Parks website).
Hannah snowboarding at Mt.
Spokane during the winter.
Recreation- Quartz Mountain
One excellent way to survey the beauty that surrounds Mt. Spokane is to stay
at Quartz Mountain Lookout. This structure was used up until 1994 to
watch forest fires (Mount Spokane Gallery website). Over the summer you
can rent out the tower and spend the night there to build campfires or
watch the stars above the city lights.
Quartz Mountain Lookout looks over the northern Idaho
Panhandle and Spokane.
What We Learned
During this project we learned that one of Spokane’s most beautiful landmarks has
much information to offer about the Spokane area. Geologically we learned that Mt. Spokane is
composed of an igneous granitic intrusion on a Precambrian banded metamorphic gneiss. This
intrusion shows us evidence of foliation and garnets in some areas while others have no foliation at
all. Mt. Spokane has several recreational activities for people to enjoy, whether it is hiking or biking
the numerous trails in the summer to activities in the winter such as snowboarding and skiing. We
encourage everyone to enjoy this wonderful landscape and to please remember to be cautious
because even though there is a paved road leading up to the summit, it is still the wilderness.
Arksey, Laura, August 02, 2006, “Mount Spokane State Park” (, 2006) Web. Accessed June 12, 2014.
Ground Speak Website. Mount Spokane Picture. <>
Mount Spokane Gallery Website. The Quartz Mountain Fire Lookout. <>
Pacific Biodiversity Institute. Recreation and Trail Impacts on Wildlife Species of Interest in Mount Spokane State Park. 2009. 9 June 2014.
Trip Advisor Website. Picture of Mount Spokane.
Washington Native Plant Society. Vascular Plant List. 2006. 8 June 2014.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Geology of Washington: Okanogan Highlands. 2014. 7 June 2014 <>.
Washington State Park Website. Mount Spokane State Park.
Weissenborn, A.E. and Weis, P.L., 1976, Geologic Map of the Mount Spokane Quadrangle, Spokane County, Washington, Kootenai and Bonner
Counties, Idaho, U.S. Geloogical Survey Geologic Quadrangle Map GQ-1336, Scale 1:62,500.

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