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Old 02-07-2015, 09:54 AM   #1
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Best Route: Bellinham to Osoyoos

For all of you who live in the area or have travelled these roads, is the best route to get to Osoyoos from Bellingham the one that goes through Sumas and Chilliwack, or Route 20 to Omak, WA, then north on 97 to Osoyoos. Having never been there I am clueless. But my preference would be to avoid multiple switchbacks and narrow winding roads. So, which is the better route and why?
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:03 AM   #2
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Cascades Highway (WA 20) is pretty spectacular, and only open in summer. It is also not a difficult drive. I would recommend you doing web search to see what's out there. Then when you get to 97 it is a straight shot up.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:10 AM   #3
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Crossing at Sumas then the TransCanada Highway to Hope, then the Crowsnest Highway to Osoyoos would probably be great. I drove the Crowsnest Highway once years ago and I recall there are some tricky parts, but nothing too bad for towing an RV.

The southern route says it's 246 miles, and the northern route says 229 miles, so distance is pretty much a wash. I like the scenery of the Canadian route better, but the Cascades are beautiful too.

Don't know if there's an advantage to the Sumas port of entry or Oroville, since I've only used Sumas.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:20 AM   #4
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I did the Trans-Canada highway last summer and it's a pretty drive. I don't recall anything on that stretch that would be iffy at all. It's really nice.
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:24 PM   #5
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I've driven both with a RV and personally would take Wa 20. Highway 3 (it's not the Trans Canada) from Hope to Osoyoos is open all winter with heavy trucks travelling it all year and it can be pretty rough in places in the early spring before the highway crews have had a chance to fill all the pot holes and winter breakup. Wa 20 is closed all winter so the road tends to be in better shape and is virtually void of truck traffic even in the spring and summer. If you are making it a multi day trip then Wa 20 has a lot more places to camp along the way whereas the northern route only really has Manning Park, which by the way is spectacular in it's own right. Lots of curves and hills on both routes but nothing to really worry about.

I've crossed the border at both places and one doesn't stand out from the other.

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Old 02-07-2015, 12:38 PM   #6
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I would recommend you doing web search to see what's out there. .
Ditto, because they both start at the same elevation, go over a mountain range and end up at the same place. I think the Southern route climbs about a 1000' more but I could be wrong. They're both day drives and whichever way you go you'll find the scenery spectacular.

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Old 02-07-2015, 02:32 PM   #7
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Does anyone know the percentage grades on those routes? I like to know ahead of time since I engine brake a lot. I have noticed in the last couple of years in both California and Oregon there are more percentage grades signs on the major roads.
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Old 02-07-2015, 02:35 PM   #8
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Which ever route you pick, check and make sure customs is open when you plan on crossing, some checkpoints are 24 hours, others are not.
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:39 PM   #9
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From Bellingham, I vote for Highway 20 in WA State. We have traveled all of the passes across and 20 is amazing.
If you are coming from the south, take I-90 across to Blewett Pass and hook up with 97North to Osoyoos. Most gentle pass to cross of all of them. Only about 3,000ft. elevation.
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:57 PM   #10
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Thank you!
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:30 PM   #11
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Most gentle pass to cross of all of them. Only about 3,000ft. elevation.
What about Rainy Pass @4855' and Washington Pass @ 5477' ?

I've done a lot of Cruise America deliveries, great way to see places that you might never have the time to take your own RV to. Google earth is my friend. If I'm wondering about which route to take I sometimes "fly it" and have a look at the photos that go with various locations as well as elevation changes. When I hit the steep elevation changes near the Salt River I wasn't surprised by them because I already had made the decision that they weren't a deal killer and that was the route I wanted to take.

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Old 02-07-2015, 04:30 PM   #12
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Just looked up Blewett Pass; it is 4,000 ft. elevation, but still lower than 20 or 3 (Canada). Highway 2 (Stevens Pass) in WA (between I-90 and Highway 20) is OK, but not as safe as the other two passes mentioned. All of them are beautiful; dramatic when you cross over into the eastern part of WA state; more sun, not so many trees, and much more desert-like. A different beauty!
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:34 PM   #13
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What about Rainy Pass @4855' and Washington Pass @ 5477' ?

Ron
You are right, but I-90 (Snoqualmie Pass) is a different mountain pass and lower elevations. It is farther south than the pass you reference (North Cascades Highway 20) and much more of a gentle pass. There are four main mountain passes across the Cascades in WA State.
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Old 02-07-2015, 05:29 PM   #14
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We left Chilliwack last fall and took #3 from Hope to Osoyoos. I was paying attention to the road and saw no problem in bringing the new 21 back that way and would like to do so. The problem though would be going back into Canada with no license plate on the trailer and I don't expect the Kansas DMV to give me one without first inspecting it. Seeing Osoyoos down in the valley, we said it was easy to see why Escape held their rallies there. Loren
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:54 PM   #15
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If you want a detailed elevation graph, you can go to Google Map Pedometer / GMaps Pedometer for Running, Walking, Cycling, and Hiking to create one. I'm sure there are several online sites that can do this...
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File Type: jpg Fullscreen capture 272015 34635 PM.jpg (270.3 KB, 13 views)
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:03 PM   #16
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Does anyone know the percentage grades on those routes? I like to know ahead of time since I engine brake a lot. I have noticed in the last couple of years in both California and Oregon there are more percentage grades signs on the major roads.
Looking at my Mountain View Directory West it says WA 20 is a good two lane road with passing lanes during climbs. It only gives the westbound descent for Rainy Pass which is 6% for 4 miles followed by a 3-5% for 3 miles.

Washington Pass eastbound is 7% for 7 miles with 30 and 40 mph curves during the descent and the grade seems to ease a bit before finish. "Use caution on this hill"- from the Directory.

I drove it westbound from Rally last June with the 17B and eastbound with the 21 in September. It seemed milder going East. The Sierras are like that too. Liked camping at Howard Miller Steelhead County Park west of Concrete on the Skagit River. Some nice hiking there. Then camped near the Summit near the glaciers(most in the lower 48 in that area) before staying at Perrygin Lake near Winthrop. Good voice/data coverage on Verizon; Edge on AT&T mostly.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:16 PM   #17
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My choice would be to take one route to get there (say the #3) and take the other route back (97/20) That way you get the best of both worlds and you're not looking at the same scenery twice.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:09 PM   #18
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Whatever the route just remember to stop at Everybody's Store in Deming, WA- 1/2 hour south of Sumas on 97. Must see (taste)!!
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:20 PM   #19
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Everybody's Store is a terrific place; actually it's in Van Zandt on Hwy 9 south of Deming (although its PO is Deming). Another excellent eatery is the Acme Diner a little farther down the road in Acme.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:38 PM   #20
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Of course; Van Zandt- btw I boondocked across the street(tracks) from the store in the Community Center overflow parking adjacent to the Volunteer Fire Station. We could start a new thread: what's your fav item? Mine is coriander goat cheese.
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