Central Oregon: Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway
Length: 66 miles / 105.6 km
Time to Allow: Allow 3 to 5 hours to tour this Byway.
Fees: There are fees associated with parking for more than a few hours near trailhead markers. Also, permits are required.
From Bend, take State Highway 372 (Century Drive) east for 4.5 miles to the boundary of the Deschutes National Forest where the Byway begins. The Byway comes to an end as Forest Route 46 meets State Highway 58.
Cross paths with early explorers and trappers such as Kit Carson, John C. Fremont and Nathaniel J. Wyeth as you drive the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.
The towering Cascade Mountains provide the backdrop for this scenic drive and offer fabulous hiking and challenging rock climbing. Wind your way along the Byway as it climbs into the Deschutes National Forest where fishing, hiking, rafting, and other outdoor sports are plentiful. This area is also a winter playground. For example, Mt. Bachelor's ski resort is filled with snow through June.
As you drive by many bodies of water along the route, it is easy to see why this route was named after the Cascade Lakes. Some of the lakes that you will encounter include Todd Lake, Sparks Lake, Cultus Lake, and Crane Prairie Reservoir. As you can imagine, this is an angler's paradise. All fishing types can spend hours at the banks of these lakes, fishing for Atlantic salmon and other freshwater fish. Waterfowl and many species of plants thrive here as well.
Points of Interest
Crane Prairie Reservoir - Another view of Crane Prairie Reservoir can be seen on a side trip to the east shore, where commercial services are available.
Deschutes National Forest - The Deschutes National Forest is a recreational haven, pure and simple: these 1.8 million acres include five wilderness areas (200,000 acres,) six cool rivers, 157 lakes and reservoirs, approximately 1,400 miles of trails, and the unique landscape of Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Popular activities in the national forest include hiking, fishing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing and camping. Other popular activities are mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling (especially in the winter when the road closes due to snow).