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Oregon Scenic Drive: West Cascades Scenic Byway

Highlights of the West Cascades Scenic Byway

byways.org Koosah Falls is one of many scenic vistas along West Cascades Scenic Byway.
byways.orgKoosah Falls is one of many scenic vistas along West Cascades Scenic Byway.

As you travel the West Cascades Scenic Byway, you absorb immaculate mountainscapes, peer into plush forests, watch the mesmerizing flow of pure waters, and scrutinize each shade of autumn's slow-motion explosion. Spectacular views of snowcapped mountains (Jefferson, Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and the Three Sisters) are omnipresent as you skirt the Cascade Mountain Range and travel through the Mount Hood and Willamette National Forests.

Three rivers thread along sections of the West Cascades Scenic Byway. These rivers are associated with other enchanting accumulations of water: glossy lakes, silken pools, rushing white water, coarse waterfalls, one-of-a-kind geologic formations, and glacier-carved canyons. One of the most striking and popular of these waters is 120-foot-deep Clear Lake, which is nationally known for its startling clarity.

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This tour shares the highlights of the West Cascades Scenic Byway.

Westfir: Start your tour at Westfir, which is the southern end of the byway. Near Westfir, take in the Westfir Covered Bridge. At 180 feet long, this unique bridge is the longest covered bridge in the state.

Cougar Reservoir: Just a few miles north of the bridge is the Cougar Reservoir, a good place to get out and stretch your legs. The dam at the north end of the reservoir is the tallest rock-filled dam in Oregon.

Delta Campground and Nature Trail: Right near the reservoir is the Delta Campground and Nature Trail. Ancient western red cedar and Douglas fir stretch up to 180 feet here. Walk under them along the nature trail.

Box Canyon: End your tour with a picnic lunch at Box Canyon, which is adjacent (to the north) to the Delta Campground and Nature Trail, right along the McKenzie River.

Slow down, take a deep breath, and be sure to enjoy the ride along the West Cascades Scenic Byway.

Find more useful information related to Oregon's West Cascades Scenic Byway:

  • Oregon Scenic Drives: West Cascades Scenic Byway is just one of the scenic byways in Oregon. Check out the others.
  • Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond Oregon? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.