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Old Blewett Pass

ATTRACTIONS: This ride offers beautiful views, and riding Old Blewett Pass Highway is kind of like mountain biking on your road bike--on pavement, but on a "bike path through the forest."


--Retracing the Old Blewett Pass route: About 45 miles roundtrip
--Completing the loop on Highway 97: About 48 miles roundtrip

--Peshastin: 1010 ft
--High point along Old Blewett Pass: about 4100 ft

SKILL. 2 (intermediate)

FITNESS. 2+  (strong intermediate)


--Drive Highway 2/97 to the Y Junction just east of Peshastin and park at the Park and Ride on the north side of the highway.
--If you want a short ride and/or don't want to ride along Highway 97 (good shoulder but fast traffic), drive south on Highway 97 (toward Blewett Pass) and at milepost 172.5 exit to the right on the Old Blewett Pass Road (there are many pullouts along this road where you can park) and follow the trip description below from mile 13.

--Starting from the Park & Ride at the "Y", intersection of Highways 2 & 97 near Peshastin (elevation 1000'), go south on 97 (Blewett Pass Highway).
--After about 2 miles, turn right on Campbell Rd., which parallels the highway for about 2 miles.
--Back on Hwy 97, continue south for about 2 more miles and turn left onto Old Blewett Pass Rd, paralleling the Highway for about 1.5 miles, turning left back onto the Highway at that point.
--At your mile 13 (about 1/2 mile past mile post 173), bear to the right onto Old Blewett Pass Road (elev. 2400'). From here on, about the only "traffic" you'll encounter will be other bicycles.
--In about a mile, the pavement crosses Scotty Creek, the road narrows, and the grade increases to 5%. The climb is basically a series of curves along the side of the mountain for another 5+ miles to the 4071' summit.
--The pavement here can be somewhat suspect, with occasional gravel or sand patches, and sometimes small rocks on the road. However, potholes have generally been patched and, all in all, the road was not in bad shape on my last climb (May '06). In fact, I was able to keep up a steady 30 mph with little worry on the return descent.
--From the summit, the road continues to curve downward, another 4 miles until it finally intersects with the modern Highway 97 (your mile 23, elev. about 3100'). The surface of the south face is typically in much better condition than the north -- with few steep road cuts, there tends to be much less debris on this section. On my May '06 climb, the pavement of this south slope was quite clean.
--From the intersection, riders can opt to climb over the "new" Blewett Pass (elev. 4102), making this into a loop tour, but having to deal with the trucks and other high-speed traffic. My preference is to simply turn around and back-track, taking in the climb and descent, as well as the view, 180 degrees from the outward leg.

Spring, summer, fall

Although about 8 miles of Highway riding in each direction is required near the start and finish of the ride, shoulders are generally wide and traffic isn't nearly as heavy as it is on Highway 2. There is also the distraction of Peshastin Creek alongside on the upward leg, and the exhilaration of the slight downhill on the return -- although it's not uncommon to have a headwind over the final few miles of the ride.

LAND DESIGNATION: U.S. Highway, Forest Service

FEES / PERMITS: None required

MAPS: See our map, or USGS Series (Blewett, Liberty, and Blewett Pass).

TRIP REPORTER: Larry Glickfeld (August, 2006)

MORE ROAD RIDES: Maps and details of over 35 regional road rides in the biking guidebook.


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