Route 97 — Geographic Overview

Route 97 in the heart of the Interior Cascades.Discover Route 97 along the Interior Cascade Region

It’s road trip time as you explore the geographic diversity of the Route 97 corridor and beyond on loops, routes and onwards to Alaska. Choose the ones that pique your curiosity and make epic road trip memories.

Discover Route 97

Route 97 is North America’s longest continuous north-south highway.  It begins in Weed, CA, where it branches off of Interstate 5. Route 97 then extends across the Canadian/American Border and up to Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway, at Dawson Creek, BC. That’s 1067 km (663 mi) in the USA and 2081 km (1293 mi) in Canada for a total of 3148 km (1956 mi).

The Interior Cascades of Route 97

Your Route 97 road trip offers you breathtakingly diverse cultures, wildlife, natural wonders and memorable stops along the way. This corridor is an adventure all on its own as you travel the Interior Cascades along Route 97. It’s a 705 km (438 mi) long corridor from the junction of I-90 and US 97 at Ellensburg, WA to Cache Creek, BC to where Hwy 97C reconnects to Hwy 97 north.

The Interior Cascades of Route 97 includes North Central Washington and Thompson Okanagan regions on both sides of the 49th parallel. Feast your eyes on miles of rivers, huge lakes, and a pocket desert. There’s, Mount Robson, (the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies) the mighty Columbia River, the Cascade Mountain foothills, high plateaus and Ice Age geologic wonders.

Thompson Okanagan Region

Find true north in Canada and plenty of unique adventures along the way. Our region starts at the international border, just south of Osoyoos. This is the southern tip of Canada’s western wine region. It encompasses the South Okanagan and the North Okanagan, the Shuswap and the Thompson regions. Take a culinary journey and meet world-class winemakers and chefs in small town Canada or larger urban centres.

Follow Route 97 as it twists and turns through the Monashee Mountains and Okanagan Highlands. Drive past sun-baked beaches and mile after mile of fruit stands, vineyards and orchards. As you head north you’ll come to the Shuswap; the houseboating capital of Canada. In spring, summer and fall, come for the hiking and mountain biking.

Get out and explore the North Okanagan’s lush inland rain forest en route to BC’s northern-climate wineries. Take in a wine festival, a Pow Wow or the Roots & Blues festival. Venture west along Route 97, to the Thompson Region where one turn in the highway can lead you to the Canadian Rockies and the other has you headed north to Alaska. When the snow begins to fly prepare yourself for some of the best skiing around. It’s here you’ll find deep, dry, champagne powder at our mountain resorts. And it’s all within reach of Route 97.

The Lure of Alaska

The prospect of vast riches has always lured dreamers, explorers and fellow travelers along this route once known as the Cariboo Trail, north to Alaska. Route 97 covers much of the same stunning geography, some 3,690 km (2,293 mi) from Wenatchee, Washington. Travel Route 97’s full expanse through North Central Washington and British Columbia’s Okanagan, Thompson and Cariboo Regions to Dawson Creek. You’ll find a wealth of riches long before you cross the Canada/Alaska border. Come discover Route 97 and all it has to offer.

North Central Washington

Cruise Route 97 through the heart of North Central Washington where you’ll find a Bavarian village tucked away in the Cascade mountains. You’ll see alpine vistas that stretch as far as the eye you can visit a Western themed town that might have you believing you’ve stepped back in time. Follow the Columbia River from Wenatchee to Lake Chelan past vineyards and orchards and sample wines in the fastest growing wine region in Washington state. Stop along the way to raft the Wenatchee River or to explore Stehekin at the headwaters of Lake Chelan. Enjoy your time at Leavenworth, a Bavarian village secreted away in the Cascade Mountains.

Explore a landscape born of volcanoes and glaciers, and scoured by massive floods. Follow the Ice Age Floods loop throughout Douglas, Chelan and Okanogan Counties — through coulees, canyons and dry waterfalls. Take Route 97 north through Pateros and Omak and to Okanogan County, home of the famed Omak Stampede and Suicide Race. Get out into nature and bike and hike the Methow Valley in summer. When winter calls, cross-country ski those very same trails that make up the largest Nordic ski trail system in the US.