Old Blewett Pass

In Washington it is a good sign when you see cryptic warnings painted on the road. Instead of road signs, sometimes there are circles around holes in the road, or mysterious wavy lines - just before severe sloughs appear. Sometimes downright clear instructions are written on the road, such as "slow". All of these symbols signal, that the road sees few motor vehicles, and that it is pretty much perfect for bicycling. Old Blewett Pass is such a road. This old historic crossing between the former, old mining town Blewett and Cle Elum parallels the newer Blewett Pass road, which was officially named Swauk Pass. But for some reason the name did not stick.

The only problem with Old Blewett Pass is, that on both sides it eventually merges onto "new Blewett Pass", and all its traffic, zooming along with gas pedal fully depressed. But even here there is an excellent shoulder.

Needless to say the entire Old Blewett Pass Road is a little rough for some skinny tire bikes. But it is fully paved from beginning to end.


1.(2210ft,mile00.0)START-END SOUTH:jct US97-Wa970, north of Ellensburg
2.(3050ft,mile09.6)southern jct with Old Blewett Pass Rd on left
3.(4080ft,mile13.2)TOP: Old Blewett Pass
4.(2580ft,mile19.2)northern jct with Old Blewett Pass Rd
5.(1070ft,mile31.4)START-END NORTH ALT: jct US97-US2, east of Leavenworth


Approaches

From South. The turnoff from US93, Blewett Pass onto the old highway is signed as "Old Blewett Road". The road zig zags up the slope to the west until it arrives at Biscuit Point (also called Echo Point). This curve seems to swtich back more than 180 degrees. Obviousely this can't last too long. There is also a view of the eternally wooded hills from here. From here the road follows the hillside in innumerable small curves, traversing to the summit. From there you can climb higher with a mountain bike on a trail. There are several houses hidden in the adjacent woods, and also a homemade "Old Blewett Summit" sign

From North. The slope next to the first curvy traverse after the summit is so steep, it affords a good view to the east. he curvy wavy nature of the road ends when crossing two small bridges, 10mph max speed limit. The turnoff from US93 on this side is also signed as "Old Blewett Road".

 

A Dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: FR9718-9712 Wenatchee Mountains(sh)

 

Historical Notes

The road is the result of improving the transportation situation for mining. Starting in 1879, a horse trail was improved into a toll road, so that gold ore from Blewett on the north side of the pass, could make its way south to Cle Elum. By 1910 only about 40 people remained in the former small town.

In 1915, the road became part of a network of primary roads connecting east and west Washington. The new route on US97 was built in 1956. Officially the name "Swauk Pass" was attached to the new route. But people kept using the name Blewett Pass for the new route.



 



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