Must-See Lakes, Parks and Fruit Stands on the Way Back
The last leg of our tour turns south to follow the eastern bank of the Columbia as it drifts back toward Wenatchee.
Basalt cliffs dominate the landscape through the canyon carved by the Columbia. As U.S. 97 travels south, the sheared-rock scenery gives way to flatter features suitable for orchards bearing plums, pears, cherries, peaches and apples. From late spring through early autumn, fruit stands of all sizes showcase locally grown produce beside this stretch of pavement. Daroga State Park (Discover Pass required) is situated nearly 16 miles south of Beebe Bridge (where you crossed the Columbia River on your way back from Chelan) at a placid stretch of the river known as Lake Entiat and is another popular spot for enjoying personal watercraft. Camping, ball fields and a swimming area are key features of the park.
Six miles south of the park, U.S. 97 merges with U.S. 2 at the village of Orondo, and the two highways run together for the remaining run to Wenatchee.
Lincoln Rock State Park
Lincoln Rock State Park (Discover Pass required) sits about 7.5 miles south of the intersection with U.S. 2 and is named for a rock that resembles the face of Abraham Lincoln. Sitting above the Rocky Reach Dam, the park hosts ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, a playground, a swimming area and more than 100 tent sites, RV sites and cabins.
From the park, continue south along U.S. 2 for five miles; continue straight onto S.R. 28, which arrives in East Wenatchee after another four miles. Head west onto S.R. 285 to cross the Columbia River, return to Wenatchee and complete the auto tour.
– Written by John King. Updated by Matthew Wastradowski in September 2020
– Top Image of Lake Chelan by Getty Images.