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Eastern Washington State

Visitor Information

 

 

 

 

 

Highways and Byways of

Eastern WA

Cascade Loop

Okanogan Loop

Interstate-90

   Ellensburg

   Moses Lake

   Spokane

Interstate-82

   Yakima

Secondary Highways

WA-20 west

WA-20 east

WA-153

US-97A

US-2 East

US-2 west

 

 

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The Wenatchee Valley

Many areas in Eastern Washington are desert and crops only grow with irrigation.

Eastern verses Western Washington

The eastern two thirds of Washington State is uniquely different from the western Washington coastal plain that lies west of the Cascade Mountains.  Western Washington’s signature is dense dark green Douglas Fir forests and the rain required to grow those forests.

 

Eastern Washington lies east of the Cascade Mountain range that holds the moisture from the Pacific Storms to the west.  That gives Eastern Washington a dryer, warmer climate in the tourist season and a colder and dryer climate in the winter months.

 

Although it is difficult to see in a small format, the photo above shows the Columbia River winding through the Wenatchee Valley with the City of Wenatchee in the background.

 

If that were western Washington you would see dense forests but on the dryer high desert plain of Eastern Washington you see less vegetation.  In the summer the only green you will see, especially on the hills, will be irrigated orchards and green belts along the rivers and streams.  The real treat in this area is in the spring when the grasses and other vegetation on the hills are green and the trees in the orchards are blooming.

 

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The Eastern Cascades

The hills on the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains lack the forests that the wetter west side foothills have.

 

 

The Great Columbia Basin

The Columbia Basin or Plateau was caused by repeated lava flows and a depression of the earth’s crust because of the weight of the lava flows, over millions of years. 

 

 

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The Mountains around Leavenworth

 

 

The Plateau runs from Lake Roosevelt and the Columbia River, in northeastern and north central Washington, south over all of southeast Washington and into northern Oregon. 

 

The Plateau runs from the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the west eastward into western Idaho’s Rocky Mountains.  It is the largest basin of its type on this earth.

 

The formation of the Columbia Basin forced the Columbia River to go north and west across northeast and north central Washington and then south down a gorge between the basin and the Cascade Mountains

 

The formation of the basin left dry river beds and falls in Central Washington and many lakes formed in these depressions.  The cities of Davenport, Kennewick, Pasco, Pullman, Richland, Vantage, Walla Walla, and Yakima are in the Columbia Plateau region.

 

 

Areas of Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington can be split up into four different geographic areas.

 

The names we have chosen to use are; The Okanogan, Wine Country, The Palouse, and Lake Roosevelt Country.

 

 

North Central WA

The Okanogan

 

Northeast WA

Lake Roosevelt Country

 

South Central WA

Wine Country

 

Southeast WA

The Palouse

 

 

The Okanogan

 

WA-NorthCentral

 

The Okanogan area could best be described at the eastern slopes of the northern Cascade Mountains, the northern foothills of the Cascades, the northwestern Columbia River Valley and the west side of the Columbia Plateau.  This is North Central Washington.

 

The best way to see The Okanogan is to approach on US Highway-2 from Western Washington.  As you break into Eastern Washington you will come upon the City of Leavenworth.

 

The mountains around Leavenworth are rugged like those in the Alps.  Obviously, the atmosphere in the area added to the concept of making Leavenworth into a Bavarian Theme Town. 

 

For more information on The Okanogan area visit our Okanogan page.

The Okanogan

 

 

Lake Roosevelt Country

We’ve nicknamed northeast Washington “Lake Roosevelt Country” because this lake formed by the waters of the Columbia River that are backed up behind Grand Coulee Dam is Washington’s largest lake.

 

Life in Eastern Washington revolves around water.  You will find most of the action around the lakes and along the rivers of the region.

 

If you follow one of the rivers that empties into Lake Roosevelt, the Spokane River, you will come to the largest city in Western Washington, the City of Spokane.

 

WA-Northeast

 

Spokane is the hub of the “Inland Empire.”  It is 280 miles east of Seattle on Interstate-90.  In the center of the City is Spokane Falls on the Spokane River.  This area was home to the first hydro electric plant west of the Mississippi and a sawmill.  Today the Falls is surrounded by the 100-acre Riverfront Park

Visit our Lake Roosevelt Country page for more information on the region.

Lake Roosevelt Country

 

 

WA-WineCountry

 

Wine Country

Wine Country is located on the Columbia Plateau in south central Washington.  Wine Country is made up of Yakima, Benton, Franklin, and Walla Walla Counties.

 

The Yakima Valley AVA is the oldest wine growing district in the state and the Columbia Valley AVA is the largest wine growing district.  It includes the Yakima Valley AVA.  See our wine page for more information on the Washington wine industry.

 

Grapes aren’t the only crop grown in wine country, you will find that the largest fruit crops in the area are apples, peaches, and pears.  Hops are also a main crop in this area.

 

For more information on Wine Country

Visit our Wine Country Page.

 

The Palouse

The Palouse is located in the extreme southeast corner of Washington State.  It is made up of Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, and Whitman Counties.

 

The Snake River enters Washington State at Clarkston and winds through the southern portion of the Palouse on its way from Idaho to the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities in Washington’s Wine Country.

 

The rolling hills of the Palouse are planted with wheat and barley.  Washington State University is located in Pullman near the Washington / Idaho border.  Pullman is also the largest city in the Palouse.

 

WA-Palouse

 

Interstate-90 passes through the northwest corner of the Palouse as it goes through Ritzville.

 

For more information on The Palouse

Visit our Palouse Page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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