The Central Access Route to the Alaska Highway extends from Central Washington north through southcentral British Columbia. The mostly two-lane highways pass through spectacular summer country chock full of lakes, vineyards, and orchards. In between stops for wine and apples, make the time to enjoy some of the scenic areas along the nearly 600-mile long Central Access Route.
Peshastin Pinnacle State Park
About 55 miles north Ellensburg, where the Central Access Route begins, is Peshastin Pinnacle State Park. You’ll see the jagged rocky peaks from Highway 97. Turnoff on North Dryden Road for a closer look and a chance to explore the 34-acre day-use park. The park is popular for rock climbers, but there are also 1.5 miles of hiking trails that can be enjoyed by people who like to stay closer to the ground. Take in views of the Cascades to the west.
Lake Chelan State Park
Lake Chelan State Park is beautiful and it’s also one of the most popular campgrounds in Washington, so be sure to make a reservation if you’re planning to spend the night there during the summer. The lake is the largest natural lake in Washington, the third deepest lake in the country and ninth in the world.
The park has a 6,000 feet of shoreline and a long, sandy beach. There are picnic tables on site, 2 miles of hiking trails, and stand-up paddle board rentals. Stay in one of the 103 standard campsites, 18 partial hook-up sites, or 17 full hookup sites.
International Hike and Bike Trail
The trail is a scenic 11.4 mile trail that starts at the north end of Osoyoos Lake in British Columbia and follows the Okanagan River north through vineyards and farms. The trail is a wide, flat dirt path and is suitable for all ages and ability levels.
sẁiẁs Provincial Park (formerly Haynes Point) is another worthwhile stop nearby. The park is on a spit of land near the middle of Osoyoos Lake. The park is an important cultural area and is also a good place for walking, swimming, fishing, and watching for wildlife.
Vaseux Lake Wildlife Centre
Just north of Oliver, BC, is the Vaseux Lake Wildlife Centre. This small wild area features a wooden boardwalk over a wetland that leads to a bird blind. The boardwalk takes about 10 minutes to walk without stops, but there are several benches to sit on and enjoy the waterfowl.
Wells Gray Provincial Park
Wells Gray Provincial Park is arguably one of the most scenic stops along the Central Access Route. At more than 1.3 million acres, the park has hiking, fishing, canoeing, camping, and all sorts of other wilderness activities. It’s best known for beautiful waterfalls. There are three falls viewable and easily accessible from the main park road.