Inland Northwest

The Inland Northwest[1] or Inland Empire is a region of the Pacific Northwest centered on the Greater Spokane Area, that includes all of Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Western Montana is sometimes considered part of the Inland Northwest, but generally is not considered part of the Inland Empire. Under some definitions, the term Inland Empire also excludes Central Washington. As of 2016 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the region's population at 2,240,645, comparable to that of New Mexico. Its Canadian counterpart, north of the border, is the British Columbia Interior. Significant urban centers include the Spokane–Coeur d'Alene area and the Tri-Cities.

Inland Northwest
Map of the Inland Northwest. Counties highlighted in red are always included, while counties highlighted in pink are sometimes included.


Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima
Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, and Shoshone

Montana (sometimes included; never included as part of the Inland Empire)

Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, and Sanders


The region is bounded by the Cascade Mountains on the west and the Rocky Mountains (following the spine of the remote and rugged Cabinet Mountains) on the east, the Blue Mountains of Oregon and foothills of the Wallowa Mountains to the south, southeast, and encompasses the Columbia river basin (or Columbia Plateau). Between the three mountain ranges are large, sweeping areas of semi-arid steppe, part of which has been irrigated due to the Columbia Basin Project, resulting in expansive farmland in central Washington. The Palouse, original home of the Appaloosa, is another major agricultural region located in the gently rolling hills of southeastern Washington and extending into Idaho. In northern Idaho, the Silver Valley is a mineral-rich region of the Coeur d'Alene Mountains noted for its mining heritage, dating back to the 1880s.

Spokane is the region's largest city, is located near where the arid, and largely unforested Columbia plateau meets the lush forests of the Selkirk Mountains. The urban area stretches east into Idaho along the I-90 corridor through the Spokane River valley across the border of Idaho to Post Falls and the city of Coeur d'Alene on the north bank of Lake Coeur d'Alene. The Northeastern Washington and Northern Idaho portion of the Inland Empire are mountainous and forested, and the crest of the Bitterroot Range of the Rocky Mountains forms part of the eastern boundary of the Inland Empire region, while the Columbia River forms a significant part of its southern boundary.


SpokaneFromPalisades 20070614



Coeur d'Alene

Latah Creek

Hangman or Latah Creek, a historical site

Lake Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille, 1,150 ft (350 m) deep

Lewiston and Clarkston

View from north of Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington

Oregon Butte

Oregon Butte in the Wenaha–Tucannon Wilderness


Palouse Canyon

Palouse from Steptoe Butte

The Palouse from Steptoe Butte

Steptoe butte sign

Interpretive sign on summit of Steptoe Butte


The Washington side is generally semi-arid, while the Idaho side experiences a mostly dry summer continental climate.

Largest cities by population

*Sometimes considered part of the region

See also


  1. ^ Stratton, David H., ed. (2004), Spokane & the Inland Empire: An Interior Pacific Northwest Anthology, Washington State University, ISBN 0-87422-277-X

Coordinates: 47°00′N 118°00′W / 47.0°N 118.0°W

Economy of Spokane, Washington

The economy of Spokane plays a vital role as the hub for the commercial, manufacturing, and transportation center as well as the medical, shopping, and entertainment hub of the 80,000 square miles (210,000 km2) Inland Northwest region.

Spokane's economy has traditionally been natural resource based—heavily dependent on extractive products produced from farms, forests, and mines—however, the city's economy has now diversified to encompass other industries, including the high-tech, healthcare, and biotech sectors.

The Spokane area is considered to be one of the most productive mining districts in North America. In the late 19th century, gold and silver were discovered in the Inland Northwest, leading to intensive development of mines in the region. After the mining rushes ended at the turn of the 20th century, agriculture and logging became the primary influences in the Spokane economy. The expansion and growth of Spokane abruptly stopped in the 1910s and was followed by a period of population decline due to economic factors such as capital flight, low commodity prices, and loss of industry.

The first permanent European settlement in the Spokane area and Washington state came with the fur trade, with the westward expansion and establishment of the North West Company’s Spokane House in 1810. The Spokane House was the center of the fur trade between the Rockies and the Cascades for 16 years.

Finger steaks

Finger steaks consist of 2–3” long by 1/2" wide strips of steak (usually top sirloin), battered with a tempura-like or flour batter, and deep-fried in oil. Typically they are served with French fries and a buttered piece of thick toast. They are commonly found in restaurants, bars, and fast-food joints (either handmade or of the frozen variety) in Southern Idaho and less frequently in nearby states but are not well known outside the Inland Northwest.

Gonzaga Preparatory School

Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington, is a private, Catholic high school in the Inland Northwest. As a Jesuit institution, "G-Prep" has been recognized for its college preparation education and community service.

Idaho Panhandle

The Idaho Panhandle—locally known as North Idaho—is a region in the U.S. state of Idaho encompassing the state's 10 northernmost counties: Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, and Shoshone (though the southern part of the region is sometimes referred to as North Central Idaho). The Panhandle is bordered by the state of Washington to the west, Montana to the east, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north. The Idaho panhandle, along with Eastern Washington, comprises the region known as the Inland Northwest.

Coeur d'Alene is the largest city within the Idaho Panhandle. Spokane, Washington is around 30 miles (48 km) west of Coeur d'Alene, and is also the location of the regional airport, Spokane International Airport. Other important cities in the region include Lewiston, Moscow, Post Falls, Hayden, Sandpoint, and the smaller towns of St. Maries and Bonners Ferry. East of Coeur d'Alene is the Silver Valley, which follows Interstate 90 to the Montana border at Lookout Pass.

The region has a land area of 21,012.64 square miles (54,422.5 km2), around 25.4% of the state's total land area; there is also 323.95 square miles (839.0 km2) of water area. As of the 2010 Census, the population of the Idaho Panhandle was 317,751, around 20.3% of the state's total population of 1,567,582.The Idaho Panhandle observes Pacific Time north of the western-flowing Salmon River in the southern part of Idaho County. The rest of the state to the south observes Mountain Time, which begins at Riggins. Though the Idaho Panhandle is at the same longitude as southern Idaho, the reasons for the different time zones are:

(1) because Spokane is the commercial and transportation center for the region, and (2) there are many cross-border towns and cities that are connected, led by Spokane with Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls, followed by Pullman (home of Washington State University) with Moscow (home of the University of Idaho), and Clarkston with Lewiston.

The Panhandle is isolated from southern Idaho due to distance and the east-west mountain ranges that naturally separate the state. The passage by vehicle was arduous until significant highway improvements were made on U.S. Route 95 in North Central Idaho, specifically at Lapwai Canyon (1960), White Bird Hill (1975), the Lewiston grade (1977), and Lawyer's Canyon (1991).

Inland Northwest Health Services

Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS) is a non-profit 501©(3)organization. INHS main focus is to bring accessible health care to Spokane and Inland Northwest. INHS oversees several health care services, including direct patient care, health information technology and rural outreach.

Inlander (newspaper)

Inlander, officially The Pacific Northwest Inlander, is a free weekly newspaper published in Spokane, Washington, and circulated throughout the Inland Northwest, covering local news and culture. It is published in print and online every Thursday. A member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, it was founded in 1993 by Ted S. McGregor, Jr. and J. Jeremy McGregor, who still own it. Jacob H. Fries is the paper's editor.


KCLX (1450 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a classic country format. Located near Colfax, Washington, United States, the station serves the Pullman-Moscow area. The station is currently owned by Inland Northwest Broadcasting, LLC. The station is the Colfax/Pullman broadcaster for the Mariners Radio Network.


KMAX (840 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a News Talk Information format. Licensed to Colfax, Washington, United States, the station serves the Pullman, Washington - Moscow, Idaho area. The station is currently owned by Inland Northwest Broadcasting, LLC and features programming from CNN Radio and Westwood One. KMAX also serves as the Moscow/Pullman affiliate station of the Seattle Seahawks.840 AM is a United States clear-channel frequency. WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky is the dominant Class A station on 840 AM. KMAX must reduce nighttime power (sunset to sunrise) to protect the skywave signal of WHAS.


KPND (95.3 MHz) is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Deer Park, Washington, and serving the Spokane metropolitan area and the Inland Northwest. It is owned by Blue Sky Broadcasting and it airs an Adult Album Alternative radio format, which it calls "Progressive Radio for the Inland Northwest." KPND shares studios and offices with its sister stations at 327 Marion Avenue in Sandpoint, Idaho.


KRAO-FM (102.5 FM), also known as myRadio 102.5, is a Hot Adult Contemporary radio station broadcasting in the Palouse region of Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. Licensed to Colfax, Washington, United States, the station is currently owned by Inland Northwest Broadcasting, LLC.


KZZL-FM (99.5 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a country music format. Licensed to Pullman, Washington, United States, the station is currently owned by Inland Northwest Broadcasting, LLC and features programming from Premiere Radio Networks and Dial Global.


Lomatium is a genus of about 75 species of perennial herbs native to western North America; its common names include biscuitroot, Indian parsley, and desert parsley. It is in the Apiaceae family and therefore related to many familiar edible species such as carrots and celery; some Lomatium species were extensively used by Native Americans in the inland Northwest as a staple food.

Scouting in Idaho

Scouting in Idaho has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.

Scouting in Washington (state)

Scouting in Washington has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.

Spokane, Washington

Spokane ( (listen) spoh-KAN) is a city in Spokane County in the state of Washington in the northwestern United States. It is located on the Spokane River west of the Rocky Mountain foothills in eastern Washington, 92 miles (148 km) south of the Canada–US border, 18 miles (30 km) from the Washington–Idaho border, and 279 miles (449 km) east of Seattle along Interstate 90.

Known as the birthplace of Father's Day, Spokane's official nickname is the "Lilac City". A pink, double flower cultivar of the common lilac, known as Syringa vulgaris 'Spokane', is named for the city. It is the seat of Spokane County and the economic and cultural center of the Spokane Metropolitan Area, the Spokane–Coeur d'Alene combined statistical area, and the Inland Northwest. The city, along with the whole Inland Northwest, is served by Spokane International Airport, 5 miles (8 km) west of downtown Spokane. According to the 2010 Census, Spokane had a population of 208,916, making it the second-largest city in Washington, and the 100th-largest city in the United States. In 2018, the United States Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 219,190 and the population of the Spokane Metropolitan Area at 573,493.The first people to live in the area, the Spokane tribe (their name meaning "children of the sun" in Salishan), lived off plentiful game. David Thompson explored the area with the westward expansion and establishment of the North West Company's Spokane House in 1810. This trading post was the first long-term European settlement in Washington. Completion of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1881 brought settlers to the Spokane area. The same year it was officially incorporated as a city with the name of Spokane Falls (it was reincorporated under its current name ten years later). In the late 19th century, gold and silver were discovered in the Inland Northwest. The local economy depended on mining, timber, and agriculture until the 1980s. Spokane hosted the first environmentally themed World's Fair at Expo '74.

Many of the downtown area's older Romanesque Revival-style buildings were designed by architect Kirtland Kelsey Cutter after the Great Fire of 1889. The city also features Riverfront and Manito parks, the Smithsonian-affiliated Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the Davenport Hotel, and the Fox and Bing Crosby theaters.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and the city is also the center of the Mormon Spokane Washington Temple District. The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist represents the Anglican community. Gonzaga University was established in 1887 by the Jesuits, and the private Presbyterian Whitworth University was founded three years later and moved to north Spokane in 1914 In sports, the region's professional and semi-professional sports teams include the Spokane Indians in Minor League Baseball and Spokane Chiefs in junior ice hockey. The Gonzaga Bulldogs collegiate basketball team competes at the Division I level. As of 2010, Spokane's only major daily newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, had a daily circulation of over 76,000.

Spokane International Airport

Spokane International Airport (IATA: GEG, ICAO: KGEG, FAA LID: GEG) is a commercial airport approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of downtown Spokane, Washington. It is the primary airport serving the Inland Northwest, which consists of 30 counties and includes areas such as Spokane and the Tri-Cities, both in Eastern Washington, and Coeur d'Alene in North Idaho. The airport's code, GEG, is derived from its airfield's namesake, Major Harold Geiger.

As of 2015, Spokane International Airport (GEG) ranks as the 70th-busiest airport in the United States in terms of passenger enplanements. At 3,998,272 total passengers served in 2018, it is also the second busiest airport in Washington. GEG is served by six airlines with non-stop service to 15 airports in 13 markets.

It is included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021, in which it is categorized as a small-hub primary commercial service facility.

St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute

St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute is a rehabilitation hospital that provides inpatient and outpatient care for children and adults in Washington state in the United States. It provides treatment for stroke, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic issues, brain injuries, other injuries and illnesses. St. Luke’s is the largest (102 beds) and only level 1 trauma rehabilitation hospital in the Inland Northwest region. St. Luke's was named one of the nations "Top 100 Most Wired" hospitals in 2013.

Western Montana

Western Montana is the western region of the U.S. state of Montana. The most restrictive definition limits western Montana only to the parts of the state west of the Continental Divide. Other common definitions add in the mountainous areas east of the divide including Beaverhead, Gallatin, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Madison, and Park Counties. The region is sometimes considered to be part of the Inland Northwest.

Zip's Drive-in

Zip's Drive In (more commonly referred to as "Zip's"), is a restaurant chain located in the Inland Northwest region of the United States.


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