Central Access Route

Central Access Route Locator Map Connects: I-90 Junction, WA to Yellowhead Hwy 16 Junction, BC
Routes#: U.S. Highway 97, Yellowhead Highway 5
Length: 596 miles/960 km
Road Surface: Paved
Season: Open all year
Maps (1 detailed pdf files available):
Ellensburg, WA to Yellowhead Hwy 16 Junction, BC

This is a meandering, mostly 2-lane road through Washington’s Okanogan valley and British Columbia’s Okanagan (spelled with 3 a's) valley, a popular tourist area for water sports and wine tasting. This route then heads north through the Cariboo Mountains via Yellowhead Highway 5, accessing Wells Gray Provincial Park (famous for its waterfalls).

The Central Access Route junctions with Yellowhead Highway 16 at Tete Jaune Cache, where travelers have 2 choices to reach Dawson Creek and the start of the Alaska Highway: Drive west on Yellowhead Highway 16 to Prince George, then north on Highway 97 to Dawson Creek, a distance of 416 miles/669 km; or drive east on Yellowhead Highway 16 through Jasper National Park to Hinton, then take the Bighorn Route north to Grande Prairie, then Highways 43/2 to Dawson Creek, for a total driving distance of 390 miles/628 km.

The MILEPOST® Quick Reference Log
Miles from Ellensburg (E) shown.
  • E 0 Exit Interstate 90 at Exit 106; food, gas, lodging. Access to Ellensburg (pop. 18,174); all services.
  • E 22.3 Turnoff for U.S. Forest Service Mineral Springs campground.
  • E 25.8 Turnoff for U.S. Forest Service Swauk campground.
  • E 30 Blewett Pass (elev. 4,102 feet) turnout.
  • E 51.1 Junction of U.S. Highways 97 and 2. Northbound travelers turn east on Highway 97/2 through the Wenatchee River Valley.
  • E 51.5 Shell gas station.
  • E 52.9 Dryden; gas, diesel, food, groceries.
  • E 57.6 Stoplight at Aplets Way and access south to downtown CASHMERE (pop. 3,063); all services. Home of Aplets & Cotlets Candy Kitchen and Country Store.
  • E 58.4 Stoplight at Cotlets Way; gas/diesel, supermarket.
  • E 62 Turnoff for Wenatchee River County Park campground.
  • E 65.4 Exit south for city of WENATCHEE (pop. 31,925); all services.
  • E 72.2 Lincoln Rock State Park and Rocky Reach Dam; camping, picnicking.
  • E 82 Orondo River Park; camping, picnicking.
  • E 85.4 Daroga State Park; camping, picnicking.
  • E 101 Beebe Bridge Park; camping, picnicking.
  • E 101.5 Junction with Washington Highway 150 to Chelan (5 miles), a popular summer vacation destination; all services in Chelan.
  • E 120.1 PATEROS (pop. 667); food, gas, diesel, lodging and camping.
  • E 126.4 BREWSTER (pop. 2,370); food, gas, diesel, lodging and other services, including a hospital.
  • E 153.5 Exit for OKANOGAN (pop. 2,552), all services.
  • E 155.9 Stoplight and acccess to Omak Stampede, Carl Precht Memorial RV Park and downtown OMAK (pop. 4,845), food, gas, lodging.
  • E 157.1 Stoplight: fast food, Walmart, Home Depost, gas/diesel and shopping mall.
  • E 181.8 TONASKET (pop. 1,032), food, gas, camping.
  • E 197.7 OROVILLE (pop. 1,686); food, gas, lodging and other services. Visitor information.
  • E 203 U.S.–Canada border at Oroville, WA; open 24-hours daily
  • E 203.8 Haynes Point Provincial Park, camping. 
  • E 204.3 Access 1 mile/1.6 km east to OSOYOOS (pop. 5,044) all services.
  • E 205.6 BC Visitor Centre/Osoyoos. Gas/diesel, shopping mall and fast-food outlets.
  • E 217.7 OLIVER (pop. 4,564); Oliver Place Mall, fast-food oulets, gas, diesel and lodging.
  • E 221.6 Inkaneep Provincial Park; camping.
  • E 227.3 Vaseux Lake Provincial Park; camping.
  • E 231 OKANAGAN FALLS (pop. 1,700); food, gas/diesel, lodging.
  • E 240.3 Traffic light as Highway 97/Skaha Lake Road turns north, becoming Highway 97/Channel Parkway, bypassing Penticton city centre. Continue straight for PENTICTON (pop. 32,993), a major tourist destination with all services. Gas and other services next 3.6 miles northbound.
  • E 249.6 Traffic light; gas/diesel with propane and market.
  • E 253.1 SUMMERLAND (pop. 11,110); all services. Visitor information.
  • E 259 Okanagan Lake Provincial Park, camping.
  • E 281 KELOWNA (pop. 115,000), the largest community in the Okanagan, has all services. Visitor information.
  • E 285.2 Traffic light at junction with BC Highway 33 to Crowsnest Highway 3; gas/diesel.
  • E 309 Turnoff for Kekuli Bay Provincial Park on Kalamalka Lake; camping.
  • E 314.2 VERNON (pop. 38,444); all services. A popular tourist destination, Vernon is situated between Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes. Visitor information.
  • E 320 Junction with BC Highway 97A to Sicamous on Trans-Canada Highway 1.
  • E 323 Historic O’Keefe Ranch; guided and self-guided tours, admission fee charged, restaurant, gift shop, horseback and pony rides, picnic sites.
  • E 341.7 Falkland, a small ranch community with coffee shop/restaurant, motel, and gas station with diesel.
  • E 358.7 Hillside store, gas station, post office.
  • E 369.5 Exit west at junction with Trans-Canada HIghway 1.
  • E 377.6 Exit 388 to food, gas/diesel.
  • E 386 Exit 374 north for Kamloops and Yellowhead Highway 5 to Tete Jaune Cache. KAMLOOPS (pop. 90,000), all services. Visitor information.
  • E 425 BARRIERE (area pop. 5,000) has food, gas and lodging.
  • E 443.5 LITTLE FORT (pop. 200) has food, gas and lodging.
  • E 459.5 North Thompson River Provincial Park.
  • E 461.8 Junction with Village Road at CLEARWATER (pop. 7,000); food, gas, lodging, camping. 
  • E 462.4 Junction with Clearwater Valley Road to Wells Gray Provincial Park. Food, gas and lodging at junction. Paved road into park leads 6.4 miles to Spahats Falls, 25.4 miles to Dawson Falls and 26.4 miles to Helmcken Falls. Beautiful side trip.
  • E 504 Community of AVOLA has gas station, food and lodging.
  • E 584.3 VALEMOUNT (pop. 1,100); food, gas, lodging. Visitor information.
  • E 585.1 Irvin’s Campground.
  • E 596.4 Junction with Yellowhead Highway 16 at Tete Jaune Cache. Prince George, BC, is 171 miles/275 km west; Jasper, AB, is 63 miles/101 km east.

Get our Newsletter

Alaska Gas Prices British Columbia Gas Prices Alberta Gas Prices

To calculate current U.S. per gallon price from Canadian price per liter, multiply per liter price (Canadian)
by 3.785 and divide by current exchange rate (U.S. to Canadian).