Okanogan Trails Scenic Byway

The Okanogan Trails Scenic Byway spans 80 miles from the U.S./Canada border south to Pateros WA. It traverses the Colville Confederated Tribal Reservation and abuts the Okanogan National Forest.

The byway follows the Okanogan River with stunning valleys and rugged hillsides until it flows into the Columbia River. Historical markers tell the story of a rich history of natives and emigrants along the route

The byway route accesses the Audubon Society’s Great Washington Birding Trail; Osoyoos Lake Memorial Park along with Alta Lake and Conconully State Parks as well as the Highland Historic Loop and the Many Lakes Historic Loop. Activities along the byway include farmers markets, bird watching, golfing, hiking, biking, climbing, horseback riding, camping, skiing, boating, local wineries & breweries, and rodeos such as the Omak Stampede & World Famous Suicide Race.

CLICK TO EXPLORE ON MAP to find more things to do, places to stay and eat along this route.

1. Pateros

Located at the confluence of the Columbia and Methow Rivers, Pateros was originally established around 1896 and was a major hub for sternwheel traffic that moved locally grown peaches, cherries and apples downriver to be shipped around the state. These days Pateros, and its sister city, Brewster, are known for salmon fishing on the Columbia River, and for a thousand miles of scenic trails, hundreds of water and wildlife access areas, and three million acres of public land.

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2. Brewster

The ancestral home of the Okanogan Indians, tribes from throughout the region made seasonal excursions here to take advantage of the rich salmon fishing, hunting and food gathering opportunities. Brewster’s location at the confluence of the Okanogan and Columbia Rivers has made it a gateway to the vast lands of the north since before Astor’s Pacific Fur Company established the first American inland fur trading post nearby.

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3. Cariboo Trail

If you drive north or south on Highway 97 near Okanogan, you drive right by a historical marker put up in a widening by the Okanogan Historical Society. It marks one part of the actual Cariboo Trail. The historic 800-mile Cariboo Trail, also referred to as the Okanogan Trail, follows the Okanogan River and extends into the Cariboo Mining district of British Columbia.

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4. Okanogan

The town of Okanogan Washington has a population of approximately 2,480. This historic town is the county seat of Okanogan County and the gateway to north central Washington State, and southern British Columbia. Many historic buildings remain including the Courthouse, built in 1915, and the Methodist Church, built in 1921.

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5. Omak

Located in north central Washington State, the town of Omak has a population of about 4,650 and is the largest town In Okanogan County. Omak is the home of the World Famous Stampede Rodeo and Suicide Race and Indian Encampment. This event is held the second weekend of August, since 1933.

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6. Conconully

In the native language, Conconully means garden; a place of abundance and was the home of the Okanogan Chief Conconulux. Conconully’s mining past was mired by natural and economic disaster, but the town survives today as a peaceful rural community. The area is filled with outdoor recreational opportunities in and around crystal clear Conconully Lake.

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7. Sinlahekin Wildlife Area

Tucked in a lush river valley in the Okanogan region, the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area provides the opportunity to wander at will, through a rich ecosystem harboring hundreds of species of big game, waterfowl, and native plants. The Sinlahekin Valley parallels Highway 97, about 10 miles to its west, leading north up to the Canadian border. The 14,000 acre DNR Sinlahekin Wildlife Preserve is maintained to provide winter grounds to support deer and ground bird populations for the eastern Cascades and other nearby areas. Just 2.5 miles south of Loomis, the preserve straddles the Sinlahekin Creek and the Coulee Creek watersheds.

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8. Tonasket

The town of Tonasket was named in honor of Chief Tonasket of the Okanogan Indians who historically used the present town site as an encampment. It is the home of the annual Okanogan River Garlic Festival. In Tonasket, you’ll discover a great selection of antique shops, you can pamper yourself in a day spa, or enjoy local culture and stock up on food at the local co-op.

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9. Oroville

Located just four miles south of the Canadian border on State Highway 97, Oroville is Eastern Washington's gateway to British Columbia and an outdoor recreation paradise. Situated at the confluence of the Similkameen and Okanogan rivers on the south shore of Lake Osoyoos both the Okanogan Highlands and the Cascade Mountains are just minutes away.

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10. Similkameen Trail

A former rail bed follows the Similkameen River west from Oroville Washington. A trailhead one mile west of Oroville offers an easy hike to the tall girder bridge spanning the river.

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11. Nighthawk Ghost Town

Nighthawk located 20-minutes north of Loomis on the Loomis-Oroville Road is one of the the oldest mining districts when Washington was still a territory with claims dating to 1860s. By 1903 Nighthawk was a well established boom town with hotel, railroad depot, and saloon.

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12. Old Molson Museums

Old Molson Museums contain remnants of the early days of Molson, an ore mining town of the 1800s. Visitors can explore a schoolhouse, ghost town, museum and an outdoor collection of original pioneer buildings and artifacts. 

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