7 Great Reasons to Take an Oroville, Washington Road Trip

Oroville locals refer to their small town of around 2,000 just south of the Canadian Border in north central Washington as the “gold at the end of the road,” a nod to its location at the end of US Hwy 97 and its gold mining history. Situated at the top of Okanogan County surrounded by public lands and off-the-beaten-path outdoor recreation, it’s also a treasure trove of adventure possibilities. Oroville makes an awesome road trip destination with so many options.

The view from Oroville’s Cactus Mountain

Hiking Oroville, WA: Where the Cascade Foothills Meet Desert Country

Oroville sits in a scenic transition zone between the Cascade Mountains and eastern Washington’s arid, sage-dotted landscapes, making the area a unique hiking destination. The town and trails around it sit at the midway point along the Pacific Northwest Scenic Trail (PNT), a 1,200 mile-long hiking trail that runs from the Pacific Ocean to the Continental Divide in Montana.  Within walking distance of downtown Oroville, you can trek for a few miles or days on the PNT.

The Whistler Canyon Trail southeast of town offers scenic views, wildlife spotting, and multiple hiking length and route options, including side-trail excursions on the Frog Pond and Black Diamond trails. Northwest of Oroville, the Similkameen Trail rail trail (a 4-mile, mostly flat roundtrip hike) offers stunning scenery, historical interpretive signs, a chance to cross the 375-foot Girder pedestrian bridge that spans the river and a destination in the historic Enole Dam. Another locals-favorite hike is the Cactus Mountain Trail, aka “The Oroville Grind,” a climb of 699 feet of elevation in 1.3 miles that takes you to the top of the mountain with expansive views of Osoyoos Lake and up the valley into British Columbia.  

Miles of Low-Traffic, Winding Road Biking Routes

Starting at Oroville’s Depot Museum, which has a bike repair station if needed, there are several out-and-back and loop biking options that range from short mellow rides to all-day epics on north Okanogan County roads with light traffic. Ride destinations include lakes, historic sites, parks, and other small towns. Plan your ride routes with this handy, printable map that includes route descriptions and details.

Water Sports and Camping on Osoyoos Lake

Beautiful Osoyoos Lake, a 14-mile-long oasis, offers a wide range of water sports, swimming, and camping based out of the Osoyoos Lake Veterans Memorial Park. The warm summer waters and shallow shoreline make it a great family swimming and paddling option. There are two public boat launches too, including one at the campground, for heading out on the water for lake cruising or wakeboarding, wake surfing or tubing. 

Excellent Fishing at Oroville, WA Lakes and Rivers

Oroville lakes and rivers feature excellent fishing for steelhead, salmon, perch, trout, and other species, including world-class bass fishing on Osoyoos Lake, which hosts several bass tournaments a year. Read more about Osoyoos Lake fishing here. The Similkameen and Okanogan rivers also boast some fine fishing for a wide range of fish species.

Oroville, WA Ghost Towns and Museums

Old Molson ghost town and Molson School Museum are a short drive from Oroville. In Old Molson, you can poke around the historic buildings and pioneer equipment and learn about their origins. The Molson School Museum includes a restored classroom, the original school library and wonderful artifact displays. The Oroville Depot Museum right in town includes a permanent display and a section that is updated annually. The permanent display features Oroville’s rich history, including information on the region’s railroad history as well as Native American influence and culture.

Super-Scenic Golfing in Okanogan County

Get back to the roots of golfing at the Oroville Golf Club. While the no-frills, uncrowded nine-hole course with dual tee layout and interesting elevation changes is a unique draw itself, it’s the stunning scenery that makes golfing here so memorable. Perched above the Similkameen river, the course features spectacular mountain and river views. Visit the Oroville Golf Club for more info.

Authentic Small-Town Charm

Walk the idyllic downtown streets of Oroville past historic buildings, unique shops and eateries, and enjoy several pieces of public art that tell the stories of Oroville’s history, its people, and their dreams. Plan your Oroville walking-tour around the Farmers’ Market with its local produce and hand-crafted items from local artisans. Find the market on Saturdays from May to October behind the Oroville Library. The market has plenty of picnic tables and a playground for picnic stops. 

Plan Your Oroville, WA Road Trip

Start planning your Oroville road trip at Discoverorovillewa.com. Time your stay for one of these unique Oroville-area events. The Chesaw Rodeo July 4th includes a children’s chicken scramble, good times in the historic Chesaw Tavern, and the opportunity to sign up to ride a wild cow. And don’t miss the on-water spectacle of the Lake Osoyoos Cup Jet Ski Races, August 3-4. The event features live music, a beer garden, and Oroville’s Summer Family Festival happening simultaneously at Deep Lake Park. Discover the golden outdoor recreation and rich history at the end of the road just 3.5 hours northwest of Spokane and 4.5 hours northeast of Seattle! 

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