Peshastin to Ellensburg
Through Blewett Pass and the Wenatchee Mountains
|Mileage||48 miles (77 km)|
|DurationThe duration is an estimate of a one-way drive and does not include any stops or side-trips.||48 minutes|
|SeasonsThe seasons listed are the best seasons for this scenic drive. If Winter is not mentioned, the road may be closed during the winter.||All Seasons|
|Roadways||US Highway 97|
|ServicesThe cities or towns listed have either Food or Services such as gas, pharmacies, etc.||Leavenworth, WA▼, and Ellensburg, WA▼|
3.1 average from 27 votes
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This mountain scenic drive travels through the Wenatchee Mountains, Blewett Pass, and ends with endless views of farms and rolling hills. We describe the drive beginning in Peshastin, but you can drive in either direction. To reach Peshastin, use US-2 such as a continuation from our Stevens Pass Greenway drive. To do the drive in reverse from Ellensburg, take exit 106 from I-90 and merge onto US-97 North. In the winter, you may need traction tires.
There are a bounty of hiking options to experience the natural wonders up close. Take Ingalls Creek Road and a 14-mile well maintained gravel road to the Lake Ingalls trailhead where a challenging but stunning hike awaits. It’s a 9-mile roundtrip, 2,500-foot hike up to Lake Ingalls (H2) and along the way you will be welcomed by panoramic views of the Esmeralda Peaks, Mount Stuart, Ingalls Peaks, and long valley views. If you’re lucky, you may spot mountain goats. The turquoise lake makes a glorious picnic spot. The water is very cold but the brave do jump in. The area is popular for backpack camping. Spring wildflowers delight and the fall is renowned for changing colors of larch trees. A Pacific Northwest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is required.
There are a few opportunities to take the Old Blewett Pass Road. Forest Road 7320 travels over Old Blewett Pass at 4,064 feet through a series of switchbacks until you finally reach US-97, about four miles from east of Blewett Pass. Note that this road is closed during the winter.
Continuing south on US-97 around mile marker 166, the drive ascends as it enters Blewett Pass. This area is heavily forested and is one of the most beautiful mountain scenic drives in Washington. Between mile markers 164 and 163, you will be at 4,100 feet of elevation and there are parking areas and several trails, including the 2.5-mile roundtrip Swauk Forest Discovery Trail (H1). Learn about woodland forests through interpretive signage along this easy, family-friendly trail.
From this point, the road begins its descent and parallels Teanaway Ridge and follows Swauk Creek. Keep an eye out for elk in the fields during feeding times, which is typically late afternoon to dusk.
As you come out of the Wenatchee Mountains, the drive continues with views of farmlands. Mount Rainier can be seen on a clear day towards the east.
Our drive finishes in Ellensburg. Visit the Clymer Museum and Gallery (M2) which focuses on western art, particularly that of local artist John Ford Clymer. Admission is free. From here, you can continue south on US-97 towards our Yakima Valley drive or head east towards Seattle on the Mountains to Sound Greenway.