End of US highway 197

View a map showing this route.

Photo credits: Chris Elbert; Mike Wiley
Additional research: Mark Bozanich

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1952-1968 (near Maryhill, WA) Shaniko Jct. OR
1968-present (near Dallesport, WA) Shaniko Jct. OR

The south end of US 197 is at a place called Shaniko Jct. OR (this is not marked on most maps; the first town on 197 is Maupin, 22 miles north). The photo below is looking south at the end of US 197:

Elbert, Aug. 2004

The RV is heading north on US 97; he's passing the sign shown below:

Elbert, Aug. 2004

Note the three-digit number on a two-digit blank - you'll see other examples in these photos. But as of 2010, all of those have been replaced with more standard three-digit versions. The signage in the distance is shown close-up below:

Elbert, Aug. 2004 (unchanged as of 2010)

US 97 veers right; straight ahead is the south beginning of US 197 (but you have to treat it as a left turn - seems like kind of a dangerous intersection to me). The sign in the distance is shown below:

Elbert, Aug. 2004

The backside of the sign in the distance is the same sign shown in the first photo on this page. Not far ahead from there is the first northbound reassurance marker:

Elbert, Aug. 2004

The shot below is looking southbound on US 97 at the same junction:

Wiley

Since that photo was taken, that assembly has been replaced with a more comprehensive version:

Elbert, Apr. 2010

The signage in the distance is shown close-up below:

Elbert, Aug. 2004 (US 197 shield replaced by 2010)

To turn right is to head north at the south beginning of US 197.


US 197 was commissioned in 1952 - I'm speculating this was at the suggestion of OR DoT officials, who probably wanted a north-south US route to serve The Dalles. From Shaniko Jct, US 197 went north through Maupin and The Dalles to US 830 (now WA hwy. 14), as it does today. But from there, it was co-signed east with 830 to the junction with US 97 near Maryhill, where both routes shared a common terminus (you can view photos from there on this page). At the time, US 97 traffic was still being ferried across the Columbia from Biggs OR, to continue north through Goldendale to Yakima. But today's bridge was planned (if not already under construction). So now there's no ferry, US 830 does not exist, and US 197 no longer serves Maryhill. That's probably because WSDoT never had much interest in US 197 - certainly not the segment that was co-signed with US 830. Apparently they were good sports, and signed it anyway for the first 16-or-so years. US 830 was decommissioned in 1967 and replaced by WA 14. So it's possible that when WSDoT removed the US 830 signs, they also removed the US 197 signs between Maryhill and Dallesport at the same time. However, the official state highway map continued to mark that segment as US 197 until 1970. That was the same year that Washington changed some of its laws describing state highway routings, and that may have been the process that resulted in the truncation of US 197 to its present terminus. At any rate, it wasn't until 2006 that WSDoT asked AASHTO to officially decommission that segment, and now (almost 40 years later) the official endpoint of US 197 is the same as the signed endpoint.

So that explains why the north end of US 197 is at a junction with a state route. Dallesport is across the Columbia River from The Dalles OR; the photo below was taken from westbound WA hwy. 14:

Elbert, Aug. 2004

That's between Murdock and Wishram; the north beginning of US 197 is to the left. Below we're looking the opposite direction:

Wiley

Turning right, one sees the view shown below:

Elbert, Aug. 2004

In about 3 miles, you cross the Columbia (the banks of which you can see in the distance, with The Dalles on the far side). Shortly after entering Oregon, you reach I-84's interchange 87. The photo below was taken from the opposite direction:

Elbert, Aug. 2004

That's the north end of US 197.