The Pan-American Highway is the longest driveable road in the world.

The road is 19,000 miles long, depending on which route you take, stretching from Alaska to Argentina. In the Guinness Book of World Records it's listed as the longest motorable road in the world. The Pan-American Highway travels through 14 countries. And, according to the road passes through Washington State and Oregon.

US Highway 97 is the continuation of BC-Hwy 97 into the United States from the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek. It runs parallel with the I-5 corridor from OrovilleWA to WeedCA where it ends at the I-5 corridor. It passes through WenatcheeNorth Cascades National ParkEllensburg and Yakima in Eastern Washington; and through The DallesRedmondBendCrater Lake National Park and Klamath Falls in Central Oregon.

And, according to Wikipedia, in 1966, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration designated the entire Interstate Highway System as part of the Pan-American Highway System.

Interstate 5 runs north from San Diego, California, to Blaine, Washington, then links indirectly with British Columbia Highway 99 north of the Canada–US border. A technically direct link between the same interstate and the U.S. Route 97 system can be found near Weed, California. US Route 97 runs northeast then north through Oregon and Washington from this junction, and becomes BC Highway 97 at the border with Canada.


Though, it's considered the ultimate road trip, a journey along the Pan-American Highway is challenging. Travelers should plan for varying road conditions, from well-maintained highways to rough, unpaved stretches. In fact, it is necessary to bypass the Darién Gap between Panama and Colombia by ferry.

102.7 KORD logo
Get our free mobile app

How the idea of the Pan-American Highway came about

Originally proposed as a railroad in 1884, Congress passed a bill to build an inter-American rail system. However, construction never started. The concept of one road connecting the American continents was officially conceived in 1923. From

The idea was to create a continuous network of roads that would facilitate travel, trade, and cultural exchange across the Americas. Construction began in the 1930s, and over the decades, various sections were built and improved, though the project has never been fully completed.

5 of Washington State’s Most Deadly Roads Are Close to Tri-Cities

5 of Washington State's deadliest roads should have drivers take caution when driving them.

Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals

The 6 Best Washington Backroads for a Relaxing Road Trip

8 of Washington State’s Oldest Roads Are Worth Exploring

Take a walk through history and check out eight of Washington State's oldest roads

Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals

More From 102.7 KORD