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All About the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in Oregon

HomeSunriver Oregon ActivitiesSunriver AttractionsAll About the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in Oregon

Mention the word “road trip” in our family and every member’s ears perk up in anticipation. We love to travel, and when you take one of Sunriver, Oregon’s scenic drives, you’re guaranteed a breathtaking view of the landscape that makes this area one of the most popular vacation destinations in all the world. Mention the words Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in Oregon and all members of our family are in the car before the sentence is completely finished—it’s that beautiful!

Located Along NF-40

The drive along the historic Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in Oregon is easy to find; just make your way from your Sunriver Pines vacation escape to Century Drive and head west along NF-40, watching the landscape unfold beside you like a beautiful flower. If you make the drive without stopping, it will take anywhere from 27 to 35 minutes to complete. But what’s the point in that when there’s so much fun to be had along the way? Remember, sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, and a trip that includes Oregon scenic drives is most definitely one of those times!

The History

If the names Kit Carson or Nathaniel J. Wyeth mean anything to you, the Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway in Oregon is a chance to “walk” in the steps of these men. This byway was originally a trail made famous by explorers and early loggers. Named after the many lakes and the Cascade Mountains, you will find along this 66-mile-long road, the scenic byway is your opportunity to get a first-hand glimpse of what makes Central Oregon the only place we want to live!

The Scenery

Longer than most Oregon scenic byways, this journey takes roughly three to five hours to complete, so you may want to make two trips along this historic path. It wouldn’t be safe for the driver to take his or her eyes off the road long enough to take in the beauty and serenity visible outside your vehicle, so be generous and take a second go at it to permit the driver to goggle to his heart’s content. The snow topped Cascade mountains stand majestically in the background, guarding the lakes and forests below. If fishing is your thing, these lakes are world famous for the salmon that make their homes there. If you like to hike, there are many trailheads along the way. This is a trip you really want to take your time and explore the wonders that surround you.

Highlights Along Oregon’s Scenic Byways

Crane Prairie Reservoir – This man-made lake, named for the number of cranes who make their home in this region, is famed for being the location of one of Oregon’s largest rainbow trout fisheries. Permits are required, but if you can build some time in your schedule, spending a few hours fishing from the shores of this reservoir is definitely worth the effort.

Deschutes National Forest – This popular wilderness recreation area features six rivers, 157 lakes and reservoirs, and 1400 miles of trails. If you can’t find something to do here, you really aren’t looking hard enough!

Fun and Excitement in the Area

This Oregon scenic drive will be entertaining and memorable, but you won’t want to stay in the car the entire time; there’s a lot to do in the area that would be a total shame to miss! Proving that education can be entertaining, a stop at Devil’s Garden volcanic fields is the perfect way to add breathtaking photographs to your travel diary and to teach your children the ways of the volcano. This spot you’re standing on, decorated with stone and lava outcroppings, more than likely came into existence anywhere from over 10,000 to 50,000 years ago—the garden is really old! Offering hiking trails that are simple for novice hikers to conquer, you can still see the way the lava flowed from the erupting volcano and easily envision the damage and destruction that followed in the path of the flow. Rocky and desolate with a ring of green surrounding the zone that was devastated by the volcano, pictures taken here will touch the souls of everyone who sees them.

Hunger Pangs?

The best part of scenic drives in Oregon could be the moment when you pull into a parking area, grab a blanket and your cooler from the trunk of your rental car and enjoy a picnic with the scenic backdrop of the Oregon landscape surrounding you. Preparing a picnic lunch at your Sunriver Pines cabin is easy to do in our fully equipped kitchens. The meal doesn’t have to be exotic; it just has to be filling and tasty! Not all travelers enjoy a meal that they may have to share with the ants or other creatures that make the great outdoors their homes, and when this is the case, Elk Lake Resorts, a local ski resort, offers the perfect place for a midday nosh. Serving sandwiches, burgers, as well as Elk Meat Burgers and bratwurst in beer, there’s a dish that will please every member of your traveling party!

Sunriver Pines

Spend your days exploring the wilderness areas of Central Oregon, hiking, biking, boating and exploring, and your nights resting comfortably in one of our luxurious Sunriver Pines vacation rentals. Book yours today!