U.S. Route 97 (US-97) -- Traversing Washington North-South

U.S. Route 97 is a major highway running south to north through the Western United States. Beginning  at Interstate 5 in Southern California, it enters Washington State at the Columbia river at Biggs Rapids where it crosses the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge over the Columbia River, approximately 83 miles south of Yakima.

From Yakima, US-97 goes through Ellensburg where it intersects Interstate 90 and then it heads North across Blewett Pass in the Cascades  until it intersects US Highway 2 in Cashmere and into Wenatchee. From Wenatchee, US-97 travels through the Okanogan, through Omak, Tonasket and crosses into Canada near Osoyoos Lake, north of Oroville.

The segment of US-97 from Ellensburg to Wenatchee is quite scenic. It crosses Blewett Pass which has an elevation of 4,102 feet.  Blewett Pass can be quite treacherous in the winter as there can be a lot of black ice and heavy snow; Snow can still be on the roadway through April.  The road is quite curvy over this stretch and many motorists tend to drive to fast which can be very treacherous in the winter. Many car and truck accidents occur on and around the Blewett Pass, especially in the winter.

The other hazard to motorists is avalanche. The Washington Department of Transportation works very hard to keep Blewett Pass open and keep avalanche danger to the minimum.

Click here for the Blewett Pass web-cam.
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U.S. Route 97 (US-97) -- Traversing Washington North-South