Oregon scenic drives amaze travelers with unparalleled views of rugged wilderness and beautiful landscapes. Volcanoes, including Mount Shasta, cut through the skyline, adding history to the sightseeing routes. The links at the bottom of this page will take you to articles about nine such drives that contain photos, highlights, and detailed maps.
From its Pacific coastline to the Cascade Mountains and east toward the Wallowa Mountains, this state has a majesty that was first described by Lewis and Clark. Oregon was later explored by Old West adventurers like Kit Carson and now attracts settlers looking for an alternative to hectic city life.
Natural wonders like the 80-mile Columbia River Gorge and Crater Lake coexist with manmade feats of engineering such as the Historic Columbia River Highway. Without a doubt, a scenic drive through any stretch of Oregon reveals historic, natural, and cultural treasures.
Here's a preview of what you'll find in our articles about Oregon scenic drives:
The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway
Alpine lakes and vistas mix with volcanic features to create a diverse landscape that retains snow until June. Rock climbers covet the craggy cliffs found along this byway.
This rugged countryside in the Wallowa Mountains offers a surprising number of cultural opportunities, but many arrive here for hunting, snowmobiling, and pack trips on horseback.
The award-winning route, which shows off 50 miles of the Columbia River Gorge, features 23 bridges and views from 900 feet above the river. Designed in the early 1900s to show off the scenery without disturbing it, this was among the nation's first true scenic roads.
The journey to the McKenzie Pass summit rewards with a panoramic view of lava fields and a half-dozen Cascade peaks. Along the way, you'll see waterfalls and glaciated canyons.
Isolated and rural, the Outback Scenic Byway includes desert drives reminiscent of the Old West -- with opportunities for hang-gliders, photographers, and hikers.
Travel the full length of Oregon's coastline to discover charming seaside towns, sandy dunes, and a thriving birding culture. Kite-flyers are also welcome along the windy shorelines.
Deep in the Cascade Mountains, rivers rage, creating challenging whitewater for rafters. A dozen waterfalls lead to Diamond and Crater lakes.
Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway
Beginning in California at Mount Lassen and ending in Oregon's Crater Lake, this scenic route travels from volcano-to-volcano past six national wildlife refuges.
Sights along this north-to-south route include trees larger than six feet in diameter, covered bridges, and dramatic waterfalls.
For more useful travel information about Oregon and beyond, see:
- How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.