Historic Highlands Loop USA

Historic Highlands Loop

Historic Highlands Loop — Northern WA
240 km (150 mi)

Historic Highlands Loop mapThe Okanogan Highlands Historical Loop is a nice way to discover the back roads. This loop links the tiny communities of Oroville, Molson, Chesaw, Curlew, Republic. It connects back to Hwy 97 at Tonasket, where you can go antiquing or pamper yourself at a spa.

Oroville and Chesaw

Oroville has three local wineries, a brewery and a farmers’ market. Drop by the Oroville Museum and Visitor Welcome Center. You’ll find permanent historical displays and a section that changes every year.

The community of Chesaw got its start during the 1896 mining rush. It doesn’t have a motel or a bank, but it does have a tavern and a mercantile. Most importantly, it is home to one of Okanogan County’s wildest, woolliest events, the Chesaw Fourth of July Rodeo.

Ghost Towns

A short detour between Oroville and Chesaw will lead to the ghost town of Molson. The town began in 1900. It went through many ups and downs over the years. It relocated and was renamed three times. Today you can sample pastries at the onsite museum and get a fresh cuppa coffee. Take your time exploring a complex of early 20th-century buildings. Wander through the bank, an assay office, and two homestead cabins. It is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Continue east on the Historic Highlands Loop to Curlew (another ghost town) and visit the Ansorge Museum Hotel. Built in 1903, it still has many of its original furnishings. The curators will allow you to browse through almost every room.

Hunt for Fossils

Further south, near Republic, check into the Stonerose Interpretive Centre and go fossil hunting. Once you’ve returned with your treasure, staff will identify the fossil and give you a reference sheet to go with it. You can rent hammers and chisels here. Please ensure you wear shoes and clothing that protect against sharp rocks. It is recommended you bring your own paper to wrap the fossils. Don’t forget the sunglasses/goggles, sunscreen and water!

For a shorter trip, drop by the Tonasket Visitor Centre where they’ll give you a map of the backroads you can take on a drive from Tonasket to Chesaw and Old Molson.

Historic Highlands Loop

Need to Know:

Loop distance: 240 km (150 mi)
Duration of drive: Three to five hours
Best time to drive: Year round
Watch for: Antiques, ghosts, cowboys and museums. Watch for livestock on road – this is range country.

Destination Websites:

Washington Tourism – North Central
Okanogan Country

Visitor Centres:

Omak Visitor Center

401 Omak Avenue
Omak, Washington
Phone: 509-826-4218
Toll Free: 1-800-225-6625

Oroville Borderlands
Historical Museum VIC

1210 Ironwood Street
Oroville, Washington
Phone: 1-888-699-5659
Local (summer only) 509-476-2739
Email Contact: send message

Republic Regional Visitors
and Convention Bureau

15-1 N. Kean St
Republic, Washington
Phone: (509) 775-3387
E-mail: rrvcb@rcabletv.com

Tonasket Visitor and
Business Information Center

215 S. Whitcomb Avenue
Tonasket, Washington
Phone: 509-486-4543
Email: info@tonasketchamber.com

Destinations & Communities Information

RV Facilities