Central Oregon: West Cascades Scenic Byway

Length: 220 miles / 352.0 km
Time to Allow: Allow at least 7 to 8 hours to tour this Byway.
Fees: You will need to buy a day pass to access some of the park.

Driving Directions: There are several ways to access this Byway

From Portland: Travel south to Milwaukee (located at the southeast side of Portland) and take SR 224 east to Eagle Creek, and then head south to Estacada. This is the northernmost access to the scenic Byway.

From the south: Exit I-5 just south of Eugene and travel southeast on Highway 58. Just before the city of Oakridge, turn north toward Westfir where the Byway begins.

From Eugene: Take the Highway 126 east exit from Interstate 5. Continue east on Highway 126 to Blue River. Continue 5 miles, where you then enter the Byway. You can either turn south on Forest Road 19 or continue on Highway 126 to travel north.

From Salem: Take Highway 22 east and travel through Mill City and Gates. Continue to Detroit Lake, and then you can either turn north at the junction of Forest Road 46 or continue south on Highway 22 to travel the Byway.

Detroit Lake © Photo courtesy of Willamette National Forest Description
Take this 220-mile scenic alternative route between Portland and Eugene and discover some of the best "up-close and personal" views of thundering waterfalls, lush ancient forests, rushing whitewater and cool, placid lakes.

The West Cascades Scenic Byway intersects major routes like I-5 or Highway 97, so you can adjust your trip to enjoy shorter bits of the Byway. The Byway ends near the timber towns of Westfir and Oakridge.

Begin in the historic logging and hydropower city of Estacada, located only 40 minutes from Portland. From the very start, you will find yourself immersed in old-growth forest, skimming the edge of the breathtaking Clackamas River.

North Santiam River © Photo courtesy of Mt. Hood National Forest From here, wind your way through the western Cascades and their breathtaking snowcapped volcanic peaks.

Two segments of the West Cascades Scenic Byway - Forest Roads 46 and 19 - may be closed in the winter due to snow, but the rest can take you to a wide range of winter recreation. The Byway supports facilities to suit sports enthusiasts of all kinds, from the most primitive and rustic services, to the most elaborate and developed enterprises.

 

Places to Visit:
Box Canyon - Built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corp, the Box Canyon Guard Station is available as a summer rental to visitors.

Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center - Breitenbush Center is a privately owned resort in a sylvan old growth forest setting. Open year-round, this unique resort offers hot springs, a sweat lodge, and a variety of workshops.

Cougar Reservoir - When full, Cougar Reservoir stretches for 6 miles and covers 1,280 acres. The dam, located at the north end of the reservoir, was completed in 1963. It is the tallest rock-filled dam in Oregon. The view from alongside the reservoir provides outstanding vistas into the French Pete addition to the Three Sisters Wilderness Area.