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Oroville (pop 1,686) is a tiny city in the North Cascades region of Washington State.


J. T. McDonald Cabin, a former custom house

Established at the west end of the Okanogan Highlands as “Oro” in 1892 and renamed “Oroville” in 1909, this small community owes its name to its gold mining, panning and dredging history. The historic towns of Nighthawk, Molson, and Chesaw are nearby. Some gold is still extracted along the Similkameen River, which flows into Okanogan river; the nearby Buckhorn Mountain gold mine produces 123 thousands ounces of gold annually.

The local economy relies primarily on agriculture (apples, cherries, grapes and other fruit) sustained through irrigation. Farmers' markets, fruit stands, a brewery and three local wineries offer local home-grown products. The surrounding countryside of hills, mountains, rivers, lakes and forests hosts various fruit orchards, public lands and trails. Oroville is an amazing place to take your kids to swim in Lake Osoyoos.

Get in[edit]

US Highway 97 runs through the center of town, crossing the Canadian border as BC 97.

Get around[edit]

Map of Oroville (Washington)

While the city is small enough to walk around in, the only sidewalks are in the downtown area. A car allows one to reach resort cottages spread out across Lake Osoyoos.



Osoyoos Lake
  • 1 Osoyoos Lake Veteran’s Memorial Park. The former Osoyoos Lake State Park, now municipally-operated, has a 300-foot (91 m) sandy beach on Osoyoos Lake,a camp ground and a boat ramp. Osoyoos Lake State Park (Q7107366) on Wikidata Osoyoos Lake State Park on Wikipedia}



Most stores in Oroville, other than Princes, close at 5PM. There are numerous antique stores and gas stations.


Most restaurants in Oroville close by 9PM and are shut down for portions of the winter.



  • 1 Eden Valley Guest Ranch, 31 Eden Valley Ln, +1 509 485-4002, . $85/490 (Nightly/Weekly).
  • 2 Veranda Beach Resort, 299 East Lake Rd, +1 509 476-4000. An 800 acre family beach resort on the shores of Lake Osoyoos with over a mile of pristine beach. Private 2, 3 or 4 bedroom cottages. Pet friendly accommodation available. Globe At The Beach (9AM-9PM, +1 509 476-0815) is a contemporary beach side restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner with local ingredients and fine dining in a casual setting. Starts at $179 a night for a private cottage.

Stay Safe[edit]

Some issues with vandalism and illicit drug use may be cause to keep an eye on your possessions.



Molson State Bank

Molson (pop. 19) was established during an 1896 gold rush; George Meacham established a town in 1898 but never registered the land. The small boom town, which had about 300 people at its peak, was named for early investor John. W. Molson – a member of a Montréal family which had built one of the largest breweries in Canada.

In 1909, a local man claimed the land under the tiny community for himself, causing many buildings (including a 1900-era post office and a bank) to be relocated to a new, rival town site a half-mile away.

A theatre and hotel had been built when the Great Northern Railroad came to town in 1905-06; this international railway (Spokane WA to Princeton BC) served Molson until 1935. The principal mining and farming businesses began to die in the 1920s. The post office closed permanently in 1967.

The customs house and border crossing were abandoned in 1941; the southernmost half-kilometre of Old Molson Road in Canada (which used to reach the border from nearby Bridesville BC) no longer exists, leaving Old Railroad Road in Molson WA a dead-end at the 49th parallel. The former Customs and Immigration station now stands as part of the Molson Museums; access to the ghost town is only available from the US side. Only a handful of farmers and ranchers remain in the area.

  • 1 Old Molson Ghost Town, 539 Molson Road, Molson WA (15 miles NE of Oroville), +1 509 485-3292. April-Nov, dawn-dusk, weather permitting. Open-air museum, open seasonally. Pioneer buildings, farm machinery, mining equipment and other historic artefacts. By donation at the schoolhouse. Molson (Q3474725) on Wikidata Molson, Washington on Wikipedia
  • 2 Molson Schoolhouse Museum. 10AM-5PM daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day. A local history museum in a historic schoolhouse building displays hand tools, household artefacts and photographs. The schoolhouse is on the west side of Molson Road, with the ghost town directly across the street. By donation.

Palmer Lake[edit]

  • 2 Split Rock B.L.M. Recreation Site. On the shores of Palmer Lake. 5 miles north of Loomis along the Loomis-Oroville Road.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Oroville
PentictonOsoyoos and becomes  N  S  TonasketWenatchee

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