Rural Douglas County, Washington
Route 97 crosses to the Columbia River’s eastern banks as it ventures into Douglas County. There’s plenty of variety in road trips here! Come and discover a quiet fishing hole or tranquil campgrounds along the river. It’s here you’ll find apple, cherry, and pear orchards competing with grape vineyards and waving meadows of wheat. Cross the Cascade Loop off your bucket list as you head west from Wentachee. To the east is the Ice Age Floods Loop, where ancient time comes alive. Enjoy an ever changing landscape as you drive the Three County Corridor from Oroville to Wenatchee.
Explore the Ice Age Floods
It’s hard to imagine the prehistoric world of woolly mammoths and dinosaurs — until you drive through Channeled Scablands of Douglas County. Turn off the road to explore 152 m (500 ft) canyons surrounded by basalt cliffs and sage, rabbit, and bitter brush. It’s just like in the old west of your dreams. Wander the shrub-steppe ecosystem that cuts through the heart of the county. This land was born of volcanoes and shaped by Ice Age floods. Enjoy the drive as you follow the Ice Age Floods Loop through Douglas County. Pick up your map at area visitor information centers and follow the side-roads on your own great Ice Age adventure.
Where Roots Run Deep
Look at the orchards, vineyards and waving fields of hay rolling past your car windows. It’s easy to see that good things grow in Douglas County. Farmers have been growing crispy apples, sweet cherries and juicy pears here for well over a century. You’ll also notice grape vineyards dotting the landscape. Snack your way through Douglas County at farm-gates and fruit stands. Take your time and explore the wineries throughout North Central Washington wine country, part of the Columbia Cascade wine region.
Where the Columbia River Flows
Stretch your legs and let your spirit soar. Enjoy a walk along Wenatchee’s Apple Loop Trail that winds along the shores of the Columbia River. Bring your clubs along as the area is ringed by golf courses. It makes getting a game in while you’re on the road all that easier.
If you’re towing a boat, jet-ski or hauling a kayak or canoe, you’ll find the boat launch at Orondo River Park. Slip into the river and soak up bright, summer days. It’s here where you’ll create lifelong memories with family and friends. Explore the power of the Columbia River with a visit to the Grand Coulee Dam. Make sure you plan a trip after dark. That way you can take in a laser light show that plays out against its watery veil.
Beyond Route 97 East and West
Let yourself be charmed by small town America as you wind your way east or west from Route 97. Follow US 2 toward Waterville and explore the historic museum. Take your time and hunt for antiques before making your way to Spokane.
Drive toward an endless horizon of grain, smooth and golden in the sun. The only interruption may be the occasional erratic (a huge Ice Age boulder) planted amongst the fields. Leave enough time in your itinerary to pull into Sun Lakes State Park. Step out of the car and up to a precipice 5 km (3.5 mi) wide. Imagine the thunder of water cascading over the lip. It is believed this is the greatest waterfall that ever existed. At five times the width of Niagara Falls, today it is entirely dry. Explore the geology, biology and culture of the area at the Dry Falls Interpretive Center.
Enter westward GPS coordinates and you’ll leave the Columbia Plateau and enter the Cascade foothills. Travel US 2 on the western reaches of the famed Cascade Loop. If you’re traveling in winter, bring your skis as there are several ski hills in the area that offer some of the best slopes and trails around.
Need to Know:
|Route 97 Distance — Ellensburg to East Wenatchee:||113km/71mi|
|Duration to drive:||Minimum two to three hours|
|Best time to drive:||Year round|
Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce
Grand Coulee Dam Center
Grand Coulee, WA
Mansfield City Hall
Rock Island City Hall
5 N. Garden Avenue
Rock Island City, WA