Landscapes of the Okanogan Highlands

From arid flatlands receiving less than 10 inches of rain annually to steep, mossy forested creeks of gnarly cedar and heavy spruce trees, this sprawling landscape is made up of mountainous geography. Elevations rise from just under 1,000 to over 8,000 vertical feet above sea level. 
The big landscape features of the Okanogan Highlands are Big White Mountain, 7,595' is the highest summit of the Beaverdell Range, Okanagan Mountain, Little White Mountain, Mount Baldy, and Mount Bonaparte at 7,257' is the highest summit in the US portion of the Highland. Copper Butte at 7,123' is the tallest summit within the Kettle River Range. 

Here are some images of the Okanogan Highlands...
Vulcan Knob, Okanogan Highlands, photo J. Foster Fanning

Golden Vulcan Mists

The morning of November first finds the kiss of dawn on the frosted, golden, south slopes of Little Vulcan Mountain in the Kettle River Valley. The distant, timbered ridge barely shows through as the morning mist lifts off the river valley below. Okanogan Highlands in Ferry County, Washington State U.S.A. 
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Kettle River Valley near Tonota Creek, Okanogan Highlands, photo J. Foster Fanning
River Rocks Big Horn BendKettle River Valley...
The Kettle River Valley in this location, Big Horn Bend, is roughly 1,900’ above sea level. This location is situated between Vulcan Mountain (5,256) to the north and Bodie Mountain (5,739) to the south. Big Horn Bend gets it’s name from the Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep herds that frequent the waters edge where granite cliffs meet the river shoreline. The location is in the Okanogan Highlands portion of Washington StateFerry County. Both of the above mentioned peaks are in the Colville National Forest. 
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Kettle River Range, Okanogan Highlands, photo J. Foster Fanning
Storm Brewing

An early winter storm is brewing over the Kettle River Range in Ferry County. Seen here from the eastern slopes of Storm King Mountain.

Sinlahekin Valley, Okanogan Highlands, photo J. Foster Fanning

On the western reaches of the Highlands, near the toe of the North Cascade Range lays the Sinlahekin Valley.  In this image 7,887’ Mount Chopaka ( left center-ground) is seen from  foot summit of Lemanasky Mountain (5,030). This early October image looks across the northwestern portion of the Okanogan Highlands towards Canada. The town of Loomis WA (at 1,200 elevation) is in the valley nearby.

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Whitestone Mountain, Okanogan Highlands, photo J. Foster Fanning
Whitestone Mountain, north of Tonasket is a well known landmark in northern Okanogan County. With a notable talus deposit of calcareous volcanic tuff giving the  mountain's western cliffs the distinct white, chalky look.
North slope Whitestone Mountain, photo J. Foster Fanning

Another view of Whitestone Mountain, this time looking at the northslope. The scars of a wildfire which scorched most of the timber on this northface is delineated by a mid November skiff of snow in the higher elevations. A poetic name given the peak is Whitestone Phantom for its pale, ghostly cliffs.
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Rolling hills of Molson area, Okanogan Highlands, photo J. Foster Fanning
There's more to the Okanogan Highlands landscape than mountain vistas and deep river valleys as this image from the rolling grasslands between the upland communities of Molson and Chesaw illustrates. 
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Mount Bonaparte from Bodi Mountain

Mount Bonaparte is a classic monadnock mountain in the lower reaches of the Monashee Range. At 7,257 feet (2,211.93 meters) this lone summit is one of the the highest peaks in the Okanogan Highlands south of the Canadian border. Bonaparte is within the Okanogan / Wenatchee National Forest and has a fire lookout tower on it’s summit still staffed during the summer season. The fire lookout was establish in 1914 it, along with the original cabin, are listed on the National Historic Lookout Register

Mount Bonaparte towers more than 3,000 feet above the orchards and wheat fields at its base.There is an expansive lodgepole pine forest and subalpine meadows on the upper elevations of the mountain. This isolated peak is feeding ground and breeding habitat for many year-round residents, including great gray owl, northern goshawk, three-toed woodpecker, mule deer, black bear, cougar, snowshoe hare, and lynx.

The mountain overlooks Bonaparte Lake, a popular fishing destination, and more than twenty miles of trails crisscross its massive flanks. The Mount Bonaparte Trail climbs 3.2 miles to the summit and the fire lookout. The summit provides a sweeping 360-degree view north into Canada, west to the Sawtooth Range, and east toward the Kettle Crest.

For more info on the Mount Bonaparte 
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More to come ~ check back soon...


  1. I enjoyed the blog. Lots of info. hope you keep it up. I was baron and rised in Okanogan, spent many good years poking around the country. I still find my way back almost every year ate fish Chopaka or Blue Lake.


    1. Howdy Don, good to hear from you. Sorry I missed this comment for a bit. Glad to know you manage to revisit your home-ground annually. Well worth the trip. Please check back in again and feel free to link on to follow the updates.

  2. Chopaka, so many good memories camping there every year as a kid. the whole county Love It. I will never Move :)

    1. Hello Joe, I agree - Chopaka is a special place. I'm hoping for a return visit soon.

  3. Thank you for your comment and compliment Aras...