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Swauk Creek

This is another important placer-mining community, at a point where the highway gradually emerges from the shade of the ravine to the brightness of the open prairie. South of Swauk Prairie, meadows and occasional swampy lands stretch on both sides. The carpet of green is welcome after so many miles of sand, rocks, and sagebrush eastward along the route.



Swauk Creek rises at Blewett Pass on boundary of Chelan and Kittitas counties and flows south to the Yakima River southeast of Ellensburg. This creek was the scene of early gold mining. Sporadic mining is undertaken from time to time. In 1854, Capt. George McClellan mapped this creek as Schwock River.


Ca. 1925 image of a water wheel powering a rustic ore mill on Swauk Creek.

Photo by Otto Pautzke. Source: Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division, Lantern Slide Shows, 1908-1939, Washington State Archives.

Ca. 1915 image of two automobiles on the road near Swauk Prairie, Blewett Pass.

Source: Washington State Historical Society