Route 5:
Oroville-Palmer Lake-Nighthawk-Loomis-
Spectacle & Whitestone Lakes-Oroville

Description: The lakes and rivers found west of Oroville make a picturesque bike route. This scenic route takes you along two rivers, the Similkameen and Okanogan, past vineyards, orchards and three scenic lakes; 2,100-acre Palmer Lake, a favorite with fishermen, and the much smaller though equally scenic Spectacle and Whitestone lakes. Rows of fruit trees lining the road and hillsides add stunning colors to the route in autumn and fluffs of pinks and whites during spring bloom. Two historic ghost towns and plenty of stopping-off spots for picnicking and camping make this route popular with bikers, spring through fall.

Directions: From Oroville turn west on Central Avenue and follow the signs to Nighthawk and Palmer Lake. You’ll follow the Similkameen River before arriving at Palmer Lake and 8 miles further, the ghost town of Loomis. At Loomis, stay on Loomis-Oroville Rd and follow the signs to Spectacle Lake and a few miles further, Lake Whitestone. Return to Oroville via old Highway 7 which takes you along the west side of the Okanogan River, or if you wish to view the Veteran’s War memorial on the south edge of Tonasket, take Hwy 97.

Time: 2 hours Distance: 59 miles

En route:

Surrounded by mining deposits, Nighthawk, named for the bird, once boomed and finally disappeared after the end of the gold rush. Settled by cattle ranchers and made a boom town by the miners who followed, Loomis was once a hopping place. Like Nighthawk, the days of glory for tiny Loomis are over, but remnants of both towns still stand.

Route 5