Scenic Drive - Maryhill (WA) to Osoyoos (BC)

March 30, 2014

This scenic route starts at the south end of Highway 97 at the Oregon state line

Sam Hill Memorial Bridge

You cross a steel truss bridge that carries U.S. Route 97 across the Columbia River. This bridge was named in honor of the early bridge proponent and builder of the nearby Maryhill Museum, Sam Hill 

Maryhill from the Stonehenge replica

Sam Hill was the one who built the Peace Arch Monument in 1921, the famous monument situated on the Canada - United States border between the communities of Blaine, WA and Surrey, BC  

A partial view of the Windy Points / Windy Flats project

Here you can have partial views of a 230 km2 wind farm spanning 42 km along the Columbia River ridgeline. This renewable energy project sends 400 MW of power to California

The Stonehenge replica built by Sam Hill was the first monument in the United States to honor the dead of World War I

Stonehenge Replica

The monument was originally located in the center of Maryhill, which later burned down leaving only the Stonehenge replica. A second formal dedication of the monument took place upon its completion on May 30, 1929. Sam Hill, who died in 1931, lived long enough to see his Stonehenge replica completed

Keep driving north on Highway 97 where you will be welcomed by views of the North Cascades before going steadily down towards the Yakima Valley.

Pass Yakima and follow the signs to Ellensburg, where you briefly turn righ into highway 90 before resuming your trip north on route 283/17

Eventually you will reach The Dry Falls Interpretive Center.

At five times the width of Niagara, Dry Falls is thought to be the greatest known waterfall that ever existed. Catastrophic flooding channeled water at 65 miles per hour and over this 120 m rock face at the end of the last ice age. At this time, it is estimated that the flow of the falls was ten times the current flow of all the rivers in the world combined.

This sudden flood put parts of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon under hundreds of feet of water in just a few days.

Dry Falls

Follow highway 155 to enjoy views of Banks Lake. This reservoir is part of the Columbia Basin Project, an irrigation network created by the Grand Coulee Dam.

Banks Lake

This irrigation project is the largest water reclamation project in the United States, supplying irrigation water to over 2,700 km2 of the 4,500 km2 large project area, all of which was originally intended to be supplied and is still classified as irrigable and open for the possible enlargement of the system.

Columnar jointed basalt

You can also observe some geological phenomena, such as columnar basalt, which is created during the cooling of a thick fava flow when contractional joints or fractures form.

Banks Lake

Near the north end of Banks Lake is Steamboat rock, a basalt butte found in the lake. The plateau is over 2.4 km2 in area and rises 240 m. It was once a island in the Columbia River bed during the last ice age.

Steamboat Rock

You may want to visit the Grand Coulee Dam, finished in 1942 and with an installed capacity of 6,809 MW by 1980, it is the largest electric power-producing facility in the United States.

The visitor center has a display explaining the negative consequences the dam created for the local Native American tribes whose traditional way of life ended when the dam permanently blocked fish migration and fishing grounds were inundated.

Grand Coulee Dam

After leaving Oreville, you will reach the world's second-largest country by total area being the first stop Osoyoos.

Osoyoos Lake

Osoyoos is derived from the word suius meaning "narrowing of the waters" in the local Okanagan language (Syilx'tsn).

Mallard Duck

Around Osoyoos I had fun playing with a mallar duck. This species is the ancestor of most breeds of domestic ducks.

Unlike many waterfowl, Mallards have benefited from human alterations to the world. They are very adaptable, being able to live and even thrive in urban areas which may have supported more localized, sensitive species of waterfowl before development.

Driving the Crownest Highway towards Vancouver

Form Osoyoos you can make your way back via the Crownest Highway or Highway 3.

This road was officially established in 1932, mainly following a mid-19th century gold rush trail originally traced out by an engineer named Edgar Dewdney

Driving Distance: 536 kms