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

The Inland Northwest—historically and alternatively known as the Inland Empire—is a region of the Pacific Northwest centered on the Greater Spokane Area,[1] that includes all of Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Northeastern Oregon and Western Montana and are also sometimes considered part of the Inland Northwest, although Western Montana generally is not considered part of the Inland Empire. Under some definitions, the term Inland Empire also excludes Central Washington and/or Idaho County, Idaho.

As of 2016 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the combined population of eastern Washington and north Idaho alone to be 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.



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

Oregon (often included)

Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa

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.



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

Largest cities by populationEdit

*Sometimes considered to be in the region

See alsoEdit


  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 / 47.0; -118.0 (Inland Northwest)