Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Glacier N.P. & Pacific Northwest

by Kathy 1. January 2011 22:39

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Washington—Riverside ORV

If you ask Genevieve and Sebastian what their favorite riding area was for this entire trip, Riverside ORV wins hands down.

Located to the northwest of Spokane, the park has 600 acres of unmaintained trails that provide a playing field for all types of off-road vehicles—dirt bikes, quads, jeeps and trucks of all sizes.

My first impression of the park was not one full of enthusiasm. In fact, I was a bit dismayed. The park was small, covered in large expanses of bald earth, and with trails that seemed to crisscross willy-nilly.

However, during our two days of riding here, we grew to appreciate the park’s qualities. The small size meant that we could quickly familiarize ourselves with the trails. Since we couldn’t get lost, Genevieve and Sebastian led Ben and I around, which they found incredibly exciting. Moreover, the lack of a marked trail system gave the children the freedom to choose whatever trail or direction they wanted on a whim. And the openness meant that we could see far ahead to make sure the kids wouldn’t be crossing paths with other riders.

We rode during the week and had the park almost to ourselves both days.

The parking lot:

Sebastian and Genevieve, ready to ride!

During one of our breaks, we were fortunate enough to meet Ranger Moose.

I was surprised to hear that this tiny pocket of much-trampled earth is the only off-road park that is run by the state of Washington. Ranger Moose also said that on weekends, there are often 800 to 1000 vehicles here. I can only imagine how chaotic that might be.

Sebastian, Genevieve, and Ben, during our early explorations of the park:

Some of the riding area had deep sand and whoops of various heights. Here is Sebastian leading Ben through some of the more shallow bumps.

Some of my favorite trails were those that wound through the pine groves.

A fence with some gates divided the riding area in two.  Here is Genevieve at one of the gates:  

The sign next to the gate said, “Crossing prohibited when water flowing.”  We didn't have to worry about water today; but by the looks of the tall cliff banks in the background, the water must have been pretty high here in the past.

Here is Sebastian, preparing himself to cross a deep sand section:

His tiny tires struggled to make it through the sand (and over thick branches), but he kept on the throttle and emerged triumphant on the other side:

Sebastian and Ben, riding through one of the wide open spaces:

Each riding area on this journey had presented some new challenge to Genevieve and Sebastian.  Riverside ORV allowed the kids to practice "the art of the hill climb."  

Indeed, the park offered a wide variety of climbs, from low and smooth to rutted and steep.


Conquering a hill climb (and one’s sense of fear) definitely builds self-confidence.

Not all climbs, however, ended in victory—at least initially:


The surfaces were often covered in thick, powdery sand that challenged the kids’ tires to find traction and to stay on top.

Genevieve buried her rear tire on this hill:

Looking down from the top:

(Near the bottom of the photo, you can see the groove where her tire was stuck.)

Genevieve, with more tire-eating sand!

Sebastian found his own bike-stopping technique:

Of course, what goes up, must come down. And those slick downhills were often worse than the climbs. Much of the challenge with downhills lies in overcoming the mind, and in trusting the bike.  And don’t use too much front brake!



Getting to the top of one particularly long and slippery hill proved to be daunting for Sebastian at first. But he tried, and tried, and tried again.

Here is one attempt:

His little bike kept slipping off course and losing momentum in the loose sand about 4/5 of the way up.  Ben helped him turn his bike around and head downhill:

Finally, after enough “what not to do” lessons, he was ready for one last run. (Drum roll please.)

Surely you heard all of our whoops of joy!  

Sebastian still talks about that hill climb.  He made it to the top because he didn't give up.  Experiences like that, and the lessons they bring, are . . . well, priceless. 

Here is Genevieve on her last climb:

That is one happy girl!

A mother-daughter self portrait:

Sebastian and Genevieve, at the end of the second day—yes, those were definitely good times!

The riding area does not allow camping. However, about 10 minutes away is a small state park campground called the Bowl and Pitcher.

We had a spacious site right next to the beautiful river:

The campground provided the perfect spot to relax after a fun day on the trails.  


Additional Information About Riverside ORV:

Link to information about Riverside State Park, including directions to the ORV area and the campground.

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Comments (4) -

1/4/2011 11:16:56 AM #


Hi Kathy, we love all the pictures of this trip!  Ben is ready to come live with you and go riding bikes with you all!!  You and Ben are amazing parents - it shows in all the pictures.  So glad you had so much fun.  Love you all Smile Karen

Karen United States | Reply

1/12/2011 12:15:04 AM #


Karen, tell Benjamin that he can come and stay with us whenever he wants! We had a fun time on this trip.  Glacier National Park (as well as Mt. Rainier--coming soon) were really beautiful, and all of the dirt biking allowed the kids to take their riding to a new level.  I'm glad that you enjoyed the photos!  
My love to you and the family,

Kathy United States | Reply

1/13/2011 1:37:33 PM #


ahhh - i was cheering sebastian on in my office...thanks for sharing.  i love seeing the things they can do.  love, becky

becky United States | Reply

1/13/2011 2:13:01 PM #


Thanks, Becky!  I'll pass along your cheers to Sebastian. He really astounded us with his tenacity on those hills.  Love, Kathy

Kathy United States | Reply

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Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

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Anais Nin