Snake River Lewis-Clark Valley Road Trip

When was the last time you packed up the car and went for an old school road trip? If you had to think about that for more than 5 seconds, it’s been too long. Let’s get you on the road this summer!

I’m a firm believer that the art of the road trip is governed by food so my first suggestion is to pack a picnic lunch. Think finger foods or sandwiches, some chips, pickles and a blanket with a thermos of lemonade. For down time in the car, you’ll want some distractions if there are kids riding with you; Bellhop has a great set of printable Road Bingo cards and we also found some instructions for Cat’s Cradle.

All packed? Buckle up and let’s go!

Start at the foot of the Lewiston Hill on Hwy 95 where you’ll find Two Nations Meet On the Kooskie River by David Govedare & Keith Powell, a metal sculpture installation that can be viewed from the road as you drive by. There’s a scenic lookout 3/4 of the way up the hill with a spectacular view of the Lewis-Clark Valley; it’s a good spot for a photo.

Just before the summit, you’ll see the turn off for the Old Spiral Highway. This part of the drive will require some close attention but it’s worth the effort. Interesting fact:  Charlie Ryan’s Hot Rod Lincoln was written about his hot rod race up this very same highway – can you imagine someone doing that?!

Coming to the bottom of the spiral, you’re in for a leisurely 55 mile drive along the Snake River to Lower Granite Dam for a picnic lunch. If you’re lucky, you can watch the locks empty – it’s impressive. After lunch, spend some time in the Visitor Center and be sure to check out the fish viewing window for a good look at trout, bass, steelhead and Chinook salmon.

Leaving the dam and 72 miles further along the road is Palouse Falls and a short hike to see 198′ of falling white water. Hop back in the car and head back to the Lewis-Clark Valley. The drive takes you over the oldest extant steel cantilevered bridge in the State of Washington, 1000′ long The Snake River Bridge.

You’ve got to be hungry again, right? Coming back to Clarkston, turn into the 410 Drive In for a genuine drive-in experience – they’ve been in business since 1955 and definitely know their way around a burger and shake.

At the end of a big day, you’re going to want good night’s sleep. In keeping with the retro-road trip theme, we suggest a night at the Motel 6 because … they’ll leave the light on.

Average drive time for this round trip is 5 hours. Google Directions and Lite Map, MapQuest Travel Journal.

To plan your stay, check out our RV Parks, CampgroundsHotels or Bed & Breakfasts and don’t forget to watch our Specials & Packages for a great deal.

If you come, don’t forget the camera – we’d love to see a picture or two of your race getaway! You can share it with us on the Hells Canyon Visitor Bureau Facebook Page or give a shout on Twitter to @HellsCanyon.