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USBR 20 begins on US 12 just west of Lewis & Clark State Park. The park is on the Touchet (pronounced “too-she”) River and offers camping and 5 miles of hiking trails. The route follows US 12 over the Columbia Plateau for 77 miles. The route is rugged and dry in the summer (bring water) but offers outstanding territorial views.
The first community encountered is the small city of Dayton with its historic buildings and full services. The route continues to climb to just over 2000 feet before dropping to the relative low point at the junction of US 12 and SR 261. From here it is a climb along Pataha Creek through agricultural lands and the small city of Pomeroy on the way to Alpowa Summit at 2,785 feet. The reward is a swift descent to the Snake River through high rolling hills on either side of the highway.
After passing Chief Timothy Park, which comprises a small island in the river, the route ends in a more urban setting in the middle of a Clarkston bridge at the Idaho border.
This portion of USBR 20 is the first part of a key east-west route for southern Washington.