The Route 97 Corridor — Columbia Cascades of Route 97, USA and Canada
Come explore in our backyard and discover your new favourite road trip! The Columbia Cascades corridor on Route 97 is an adventure in itself with quaint towns, vibrant cities, agriculture, history and culture aplenty. Our backcountry and our city streets are filled with pleasant surprises. Step back in time or step into a wine tasting room, the choice is yours. It’s all here for you to discover.
Gold Rush Trail to Osoyoos BC
368 km (229 mi) via 97; 425 km (264 mi) via 97A
Several small towns and cities are located on or near lakes and rivers in an area flush with orchards, fruit stands, vineyards and wineries. It’s famous for its year round wine and music festivals. Enjoy hiking and mountain biking in spring, summer and fall. When the snow flies get your champagne powder fix at one of the area ski resorts.
Gold Rush Trail
Follow in the footsteps of dreamers and prospectors along the Gold Rush Trail that begins in New Westminster along Hwy 1 and ends its northern route in Prince George at Hwy 97 N. From here you can continue on to Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek, BC.
Head west towards Kamloops, a vibrant city with a focus on outdoor adventure. Enjoy one of their many parks, including a wildlife park where you can meet Clover, a rescued Spirit bear. Learn the history of the First Nations at the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park. Come enjoy the Kamloopa Pow Wow, one of the largest celebrations of First Nations’ culture and heritage in Western Canada.
Salmon Arm is home to the highly acclaimed Roots and Blues festival while Sicamous is known as the Housboating Capital of Canada. It’s here where you’ll see the largest Sockeye salmon run in BC on the Adams River.
Armstrong/Spallumcheen and Enderby
Route 97 branches off to 97A towards Armstrong/Spallumcheen, where you can explore the Barn Quilt Trail, the cheese factory and an asparagus farm. The Interior Provincial Exhibition happens here every Labour Day weekend. Take in year round performances put on by the outdoor theatre company. A few minutes up the road is Enderby with the largest Drive-in theatre screen in North America. Take in stunning views of both the Shuswap and the Okanagan valleys as you hike the Enderby cliffs.
Lake Country and Vernon
North of Kelowna, Route 97 twists and turns past Lake Country, home to the Kangaroo Creek farm. Spend the day visiting, feeding and wandering among the wallabies, kangaroos, and other animals. When you spot the marled colours of Kalamalka lake you’re near Vernon. There are hike and bike trails aplenty around the three lakes and two large provincial parks. Visit a multi-generational farm that sells everything it grows on site. There’s even a meadery and honey shop where you can observe a working hive.
Peachland, West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, Kelowna
At Peachland visit Hardy Falls, zipline through the trees or walk their lakefront. In West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation, find dozens of wineries atop an ancient volcano. Cross the floating pontoon bridge into Kelowna, the largest city in the area. There’s fine dining, golf, shopping, live music, live theatre, hiking, biking, there’s so much to see and do here.
Penticton, Naramata and Summerland
Penticton lies on the north end of Skaha Lake — relax on their sandy beaches or float the river channel. The Skaha Bluffs is one of finest training areas for climbers in North America. Venture up the Naramata bench for vineyards, orchards, wineries and cycling access to the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Then onwards to Summerland for more wineries and orchards, where you might get robbed by outlaws on the historic steam train.
Oliver and Okanagan Falls
Oliver is known as the Wine Capital of Canada for its high concentration of wineries. At Vaseux Lake Walk the boardwalk for great bird watching, then follow the wine route to Okanagan Falls. Local parks boast of warm, shallow family friendly beaches. In harvest season stop at one of the many fruit stands that dot the highway.
Osoyoos — Desert and Culture
Osoyoos, BC, at the southern tip of Route 97, is a major junction for Hwys 97, 3 and 3A. Here you’ll find a First Nation winery, the NK’MIP Desert Cultural Centre, lakeside resorts, orchards and farms, all combined with the unique ecology of a pocket desert.
US Border at Oroville, WA to North Central Washington
337 km (210 mi)
Rural communities and down home hospitality await as you cruise the Columbia Cascades Corridor of Route 97. Follow the Columbia River through Okanogan, Douglas, and Chelan counties of North Central Washington. The green pastures and orchards of the valley floor combine with the rugged cliffs and glacial features for picture perfect vistas.
As soon as you cross the border you’re in Okanogan County and your first town is Oroville, WA. Located four miles south of the Canadian border, it was originally named Oro, as it was surrounded by gold mines. Gold panning and gold dredging still goes on today.
South of Oroville is Tonasket, hosts of the annual Okanogan River Garlic Festival and the gateway to the Historic Highlands loop. Further down the road is Omak, WA, home to the world famous Omak Stampede.
Raft the Wenatchee River, or visit the Bavarian themed village of Leavenworth. The Stuart Range south of Leavenworth is a premier rock and ice climbing spot. Take 97A along the Columbia River through Entiat to Lake Chelan, the largest lake in WA. Visit Lake Chelan in any season and enjoy Nordic skiing in the winter and sky diving in the warmer months.
Ride a passenger ferry to the remote villages of Holden and Stehekin. Explore vineyards and orchards and sip wine in the fastest growing wine region in WA. From Pateros, explore the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, a landscape born of volcanoes, glaciers, and massive floods.
Need to Know:
|Distance from Gold Rush Trail
to Osoyoos, BC Border Crossing:
|368 km (229 mi) via 97
425 km (264 mi) via 97A
|Distance from US border at Oroville to North Central WA||337 km (210 mi)|
|Duration to drive:||While you could drive the corridor in a day, it is recommended you take your time.|
|Best time to drive:||Year around. Snow tires are recommended in winter months|