Best Scenic Drives in Central Oregon (10 Most Beautiful Roads)

Central Oregon is an outdoor paradise and offers some of the most gorgeous scenic routes in the entire Pacific Northwest region. Nestled in the high desert, Central Oregon is home to several awe-inspiring mountain ranges including the Cascade Range, High Cascades, and Wallowas Mountains. From these majestic peaks to the golden sand dunes of the Alvord Desert to crystal-clear alpine lakes, Central Oregon has something for everyone.

Taking a drive along one of Central Oregon’s scenic byways will offer you incredible views that you won’t soon forget. Whether it’s cruising along the Crooked River Canyon National Scenic Byway through juniper forests or exploring La Pine State Park on your way to Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and see some beautiful scenery.

For those looking for a peaceful afternoon drive, the Chewuch-Wenatchee Scenic Byway takes travelers through pine forests and meadows abounding with wildlife. The geologic wonders of Smith Rock State Park can also be explored along this route or on its own dedicated loop via Highway 19. Regardless of which road you decide to take, a journey through Central Oregon will never disappoint!

Best Scenic Drives in Central Oregon

Central Oregon is a region in the US state of Oregon that lies in the center of the state and spans an area from the Cascade Range to the High Desert. The region is one of the most diverse areas in Oregon, with a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.

The towns of Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Sisters and La Pine are located within Central Oregon. These communities provide a variety of restaurants, shopping centers, museums and entertainment venues for people to take advantage of. Bend is known for its outdoor recreation opportunities such as rock climbing and mountain biking in nearby Smith Rock State Park, while Redmond offers plenty of golf courses and trails to explore.

One highlight of Central Oregon’s natural beauty is its many lakes and rivers. The Deschutes River winds through the region offering white-water rafting excursions while the calm waters of Lake Billy Chinook are perfect for swimming or fishing. Visitors can also enjoy hiking or camping along Central Oregon’s miles of trails which offer breathtaking views.

Central Oregon also offers several ski resorts including Mt Bachelor Ski Resort the largest ski resort in all of North America as well as cross-country skiing at Hoodoo Ski Area near Sisters. In addition, dozens more downhill ski areas are located just outside the region but still within reasonable driving distances from Central Oregon cities like Redmond or Prineville.

Other recreational activities include horseback riding through picturesque forests or geocaching around popular landmarks like Pilot Butte in Bend or Cove Palisades State Park near Culver. Visitors can also swing by one of Central Oregon’s many wineries where they can sample locally produced wines amid stunning scenery.

For those looking for relaxation, there are numerous spas throughout Central Oregon that offer massage services, aromatherapy treatments, and other therapeutic options designed to help visitors unwind during their stay in the region. Hot air balloon rides over some of Central Oregon’s spectacular landscapes are another popular activity among those hoping to get an unbeatable view from above while visiting this unique corner of America’s Pacific Northwest.

Best Scenic Drives in Central Oregon

Why Scenic Drives Are A Great Way To Explore Central Oregon

Exploring Central Oregon is an activity that can be enjoyed year-round, and there’s no better way to do so than to embark on a scenic drive. Taking in the sights and sounds of Central Oregon from behind the wheel is one of the best ways to get a sense of the region’s unique beauty. Whether traveling through rolling hillsides dotted with vibrant wildflowers, soaring mountains and cascading waterfalls, or vast open fields filled with grazing wildlife, Central Oregon offers endless opportunities for breathtaking views.

Central Oregon offers countless scenic drives—each providing something different. For example, those who are looking for a relaxing drive along winding mountain roads should consider a trip along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. This loop passes through majestic forests and beautiful lakes like Sparks Lake, Lava Lake, Davis Lake, and Crane Prairie Reservoir—all of which provide unparalleled views of nature at its finest. Other routes like The High Desert Tour offer more challenging terrain but include stops at landmarks such as Smith Rock State Park and Newberry National Volcanic Monument for an unforgettable journey through some of Central Oregon’s most captivating scenes.

For those wanting to explore further off the beaten path, there are also plenty of lesser-known trips worth taking in Central Oregon. From hot springs tucked away in secluded valleys to hidden gems like Crater Lake National Park and Badlands Wilderness Area, taking in these areas from behind the wheel will provide an experience you won’t soon forget.

Scenic drives aren’t just great for admiring nature’s beauty; they also allow travelers to learn more about the region’s history and culture. As drivers navigate their way through Central Oregon they can find themselves back in time to when pioneers first explored this land by wagon or horseback. They may also discover evidence of Native American communities who have been living in this area since long before it was settled; artifacts such as petroglyphs tell their story and are reminders of how we all belong here together today.

A scenic drive not only provides unique opportunities for visual exploration but can also be enjoyed as an escape from everyday life—no matter your age or ability level. It is a refreshing opportunity to connect with family members or friends while soaking up nature’s beauty and discovering new places along the way. With so many incredible routes throughout Central Oregon waiting to be discovered there really isn’t any better way to truly explore this amazing part of our world!


1. Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in Central Oregon. It winds through a stunning landscape of snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes and alpine forests, all formed by the volcanic activity of centuries past. The route takes you from Bend to the east side of Mt. Bachelor and then loops around through sunny meadows and lush forests before returning back to Bend. Along the way, you’ll find several popular attractions, including the High Desert Museum, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and several lakes along the Deschutes River.

No matter what season you visit, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway has something for everyone. In springtime, wildflowers blanket the hillsides in a rainbow of color as migrating birds return from their winter homes down south. Summer brings sunshine and clear blue skies, perfect for camping and picnicking near one of over 35 alpine lakes that are located along this scenic drive. As autumn arrives, tree leaves turn vibrant shades of yellow and orange before finally falling to cover the ground beneath – a picturesque sight that will delight any nature lover!

The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is open year-round for visitors to enjoy its many attractions. Several campgrounds are situated along the route offering visitors an opportunity to stay overnight and witness some truly spectacular sunrises over nearby peaks or starry night skies filled with constellations. The road follows many winding roads with plenty of switchbacks so be sure to take your time as you enjoy this unforgettable adventure! With its abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities, cascading waterfalls, historical sites and ancient lava flows – there’s no better place in Central Oregon to experience Mother Nature’s beauty than by driving through this incredible byway.

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway central oregon

2. Mt. Hood Scenic Byway

The Mt. Hood Scenic Byway is one of the most picturesque drives in Central Oregon. It is a designated All-American Road, which means that it has been recognized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as an exceptional scenic road in the United States. This 68-mile-long byway winds along the base of majestic Mt. Hood and offers stunning views of snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, lush alpine meadows, and dense verdant forests. Along the way, you’ll pass through several charming villages with quaint shops and outdoor dining options. The drive also takes you over two mountain passes as well as to three lakes – Trillium Lake, Lost Lake, and Timothy Lake – where visitors can take part in popular activities like boating and fishing.

As you make your way through the journey, be sure to stop at some of the many lookout points for breathtaking views of Mt. Hood’s 11 glaciers and other iconic mountain features such as Zigzag Canyon and Cloud Cap Inn. For those looking to explore further into nature’s beauty, there are numerous hiking trails offering captivating views of old-growth forests, gorgeous wildflower fields, cascading streams, rugged glacial valleys, and more! Wildlife viewing opportunities abound here too; look out for elk or deer grazing in meadows or bald eagles soaring high up above.

The Mt. Hood Scenic Byway not only showcases Central Oregon’s natural splendor but also its diverse history and culture too. Take time to explore some of its sites including historic structures like Barlow Road Tollgate or visit Native American petroglyphs carved into rock walls by Clackamas Indians thousands of years ago. You can even dine at one of the area’s oldest restaurants – Timberline Lodge – which has been serving hungry travelers since 1937!

Whether you’re seeking an unforgettable driving experience or a chance to reconnect with nature, look no further than Mt. Hood Scenic Byway for a truly memorable experience! Enjoy winding your way through spectacular mountain terrain as you marvel at Mother Nature’s wonders while uncovering historical gems scattered along the route!

Mt. Hood Scenic Byway

3. McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway

McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway is a must-see for those seeking to explore the many scenic drives in Central Oregon. Spanning from Eugene to Bend, this byway offers some of the most breathtaking views in the entire state. The route takes you through the rolling foothills of the Cascade Mountains, offering spectacular views of snow-capped mountains, lush green forests and crystal-clear lakes. Along this drive, you’ll see historic lava flows as well as miles of wildflower meadows during springtime. You can also stop by popular attractions like Dee Wright Observatory and Three Sisters Wilderness Area while on your journey.

If you’re looking for an unspoiled view of nature, then look no further than McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway. This scenic route winds along two mountain passes that provide unique perspectives on the Cascades. As you make your way up McKenzie Pass, take note of how the landscape changes from dry sagebrush flats to dense forests full of Douglas firs and Western hemlocks.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to pull off and take picture postcard photos which will serve as a lasting memory of your Central Oregon getaway. Don’t forget to check out Lava Camp Lake along McKenzie Pass where you can admire its vibrant blue waters surrounded by steep volcanic cliffs!

Once you reach Santiam Pass, prepare yourself for another unforgettable experience with breathtaking panoramic views of cascading waterfalls tumbling down nearby peaks. You can also visit Belknap Hot Springs Resort located here or take a short side trip to Hoodoo Ski Area which offers excellent downhill skiing during winter months and fabulous hiking trails during summertime. There’s something for everyone at Santiam Pass!

Whether it’s sightseeing, outdoor recreation or simply taking in all that Central Oregon has to offer, there’s no better place than McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway for an unforgettable road trip experience! So don’t wait any longer – hit the road and start exploring some of Oregon’s finest scenery today!

McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway

4. Historic Columbia River Highway

The Historic Columbia River Highway is one of the most iconic and breathtaking scenic drives in Central Oregon. Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, this historic highway has been around for over 100 years, providing visitors with a unique and stunning view of the gorge’s splendor. The stretch of road, starting near Troutdale, Oregon and ending at The Dalles, Oregon is full of awe-inspiring sights, from majestic old-growth forests to dramatic river vistas.

Along the drive are several lookout points that provide visitors with sweeping views of the gorge and its many rivers, waterfalls and mountains. The road itself is like a ribbon winding through the landscape; it’s narrow, winding curves make for an exciting ride.

In addition to its natural beauty, driving along this stretch of roads also offers glimpses into history. There are several sites along the way that commemorate some of the earliest settlers in Central Oregon. For example, you can visit Judge Mitchell’s cabin near Troutdale and learn about his story as one of the first homesteaders in the area. At Shellrock Mountain you can find an interpretive site that provides information about how Native Americans used to hunt deer and collect acorns in these valleys.

One of the most popular stops along this route is Multnomah Falls; at 620 feet tall it is one of America’s tallest waterfalls and its mesmerizing beauty attracts millions of visitors every year. Just off Interstate 84, you can find other incredible waterfalls such as Latourell Falls or Wahkeena Falls, both boasting impressive cascading formations sure to take your breath away.

For those looking for a less intense but still beautiful driving experience, there are plenty of options available as well – from taking a leisurely drive up Larch Mountain Road to exploring quiet country roads tucked away between farms and orchards on Sauvie Island or visiting some charming rural towns like Mosier or Hood River further east downriver on I-84. No matter what type of driving experience you’re looking for, Historic Columbia River Highway has something special to offer everyone! So pack up your car (or RV!) and get ready to explore one of Central Oregon’s most scenic drives!

Historic Columbia River Highway

5. Ochoco Mountains Scenic Byway

The Ochoco Mountains Scenic Byway is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in Central Oregon. Located in the heart of the state, visitors can experience some of the most spectacular views without ever leaving the comfort and convenience of their car. Stretching for nearly 60 miles through dense forests and open meadows, this byway provides an unforgettable journey of discovery.

Along with its stunning vistas, travelers can expect to come across cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear mountain lakes, and tranquil streams flowing freely throughout the area. The byway also passes through several small towns where visitors can stop for a bite to eat or collect souvenirs to share with friends and family back home.

The rugged landscape is full of wildlife, including native birds such as Bald Eagles and Great Horned Owls, plus abundant amounts of deer, elk, coyotes, cougars and bobcats. There are also opportunities to explore a variety of plant life in certain areas; species like Douglas Fir, Whitebark Pine, Ponderosa Pine, and Lodgepole Pine are just some of the species encountered along the byway.

For those looking for more than just a scenic drive, there are plenty of activities available in the region including camping in designated spots within national forests or hiking along one of many trails providing access to stunning mountain peaks like Lookout Mountain or Ochoco Mountain itself. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck at catching trout from alpine lakes while rock climbers will find plenty of challenging routes among the rocky cliffs found near many pullouts along the way.

With so much to offer, there’s no better way to experience Central Oregon’s beautiful natural scenery than going for a drive on Ochoco Mountains Scenic Byway!

Ochoco Mountains Scenic Byway

6. Paulina-East Lake Scenic Drive

Paulina-East Lake Scenic Drive is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking drives in Central Oregon. Located in the heart of Deschutes National Forest, this drive winds its way along Highway 372, offering gorgeous views of stunning mountain peaks, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes.

Starting at the north end of the loop at Paulina Lake, visitors can look out over miles of pristine lake water surrounded by towering conifer forests. As you make your way around the lake to East Lake, you’ll be met with views of rocky mountainsides peppered with evergreen trees, bright wildflowers and lush meadows in every direction. On a clear day, you can see Mt Bachelor and Broken Top towering over nearby mountain peaks like South Sister and North Sister.

After passing by East Lake, you’ll get an up-close look at Obsidian Dome which is home to a variety of obsidian flakes that were created during volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. Afterward, you’ll pass by ancient lava flows and then make your way around the western shoreline of Paulina Lake before heading back up to the start. Along this journey, there are plenty of stops for taking photos or fishing in one of several streams and ponds located along the drive.

If you’re looking for a truly awe-inspiring experience then Paulina-East Lake Scenic Drive should definitely be on your bucket list! This beautiful route is perfect for all types of travelers whether it’s motorcycling enthusiasts or families looking for their next camping adventure. Don’t forget to pack some snacks for stopping along the way as there are plenty more sights to take in! With its endless beauty and amazing landscapes, this scenic drive offers something special for everyone who visits Central Oregon!

paulina east lake scenic drive

7. John Day River Scenic Byway

The John Day River Scenic Byway is one of the most stunningly beautiful drives in all of Central Oregon. The route follows the meandering course of the John Day River as it winds its way through a variety of breathtaking landscapes. Along the way, travelers are treated to incredible views of majestic mountains, lush forests, and stunning rock formations. The byway is packed with activities for outdoor enthusiasts of all types, including fishing, boating, camping, hiking, and cycling.

The route begins on US Highway 26 at the small community of Spray and then travels south along the river for about 74 miles before ending at the town of Service Creek. Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to take in some spectacular sights and sounds. You can stop off at several points overlooking scenic vistas and take in sights such as towering basalt columns or soar off into the air on a hot air balloon ride. Wildlife lovers will find plenty to observe including elk, deer, big horn sheep, bald eagles, and more.

The John Day River has been an important part of this area since before the days when settlers first began arriving here in 1845. Today it provides recreation for those who appreciate its beauty and an important habitat for many species of fish including several endangered salmon species that use it as their spawning grounds each fall. Visitors can also learn more about local history by visiting numerous sites dotted along this historic river including old homesteads, abandoned settlements and artifacts from a time long past.

No matter what type of adventure you’re looking for you’re sure to find something special on this amazing journey through Central Oregon’s scenic wonderland! Whether you want to explore nature’s beauty or get back to your roots by exploring local culture there’s something here for everyone—from picnics with friends to solitary hikes through mesmerizing forests filled with evergreen trees and wildflower-filled meadows. With miles upon miles of pristine wilderness ready for exploration you won’t find a better place to experience all that Central Oregon has to offer than on the John Day River Scenic Byway!

John Day River Scenic Byway

8. Oregon Outback Scenic Byway

The Oregon Outback Scenic Byway is a stunning stretch of road that winds its way through some of the most beautiful wilderness in Central Oregon. This scenic drive offers stunning views of canyons, high desert plateaus, and ancient lava flows. Along the drive, you will experience the breathtaking beauty of the region and be able to take in diverse wildlife, rock formations, and plants as you go.

Starting at Burns Junction, the byway follows State Highway 205 for 61 miles up to Riley. Along the way, you will experience vistas that include rugged mountain peaks like Black Butte, Monitor Butte, and Steens Mountain. As you venture further along the route, you’ll find yourself on islands in an arid sea of sagebrush steppe and juniper-piñon woodlands. Along these stretches, it’s not uncommon to spot elk or pronghorn antelope grazing nearby hillsides. As you reach higher elevations near Harney Peak, wildflower blooms make for incredible displays of beauty throughout the late spring and early summer months.

The Oregon Outback Scenic Byway is unique in that it also showcases part of Oregon’s rich cultural heritage including remnants from Native American tribes who inhabited this land long before Europeans ever arrived. Look around for evidence of their ancient homesites as well as more recent homesteads abandoned by settlers more than a century ago; a testament to an earlier era of human history in this region.

In addition to its amazing sights, this byway also offers visitors plenty to do no matter what their interests are; from excellent fishing opportunities near Malheur Lake to birdwatching at Krumbo Reservoir or camping around Wagontire there’s no shortage of enjoyable activities available here year round!

Whether you want an easy day trip or plan to spend multiple days exploring every inch of this gorgeous part of Central Oregon – the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway offers something special for everybody!

9. Millican Valley Scenic Drive

Millican Valley Scenic Drive is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in Central Oregon, offering breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountain Range and other stunning natural sights. Winding its way from Sisters to La Pine, the drive provides travelers with a glimpse of some of the state’s most beautiful landscapes. Along the way, visitors are treated to a variety of photogenic locations including lush green meadows, towering forests, and rushing rivers.

The Millican Valley Scenic Drive begins at Sisters, an eclectic small town situated in the middle of Oregon’s high desert country. From here, travelers can enjoy views of snow-capped peaks, coniferous forests, and rocky outcrops that tell stories of the area’s rich history. Along the way, you will cross two historical bridges — Dutchman Flat Bridge and Whychus Creek Bridge — before arriving at your final destination in La Pine.

The second segment of this picturesque drive takes you through Deschutes National Forest as you cross over into La Pine. Here, you have a chance to admire ancient ponderosa pines that stand tall along winding forest roads as if they have stood sentinel for centuries past.

Visitors should also be sure to take a detour and explore Crane Prairie Reservoir which has become an angler’s paradise due to its abundant population of rainbow trout, brown trout, and kokanee salmon. As you draw ever closer to La Pine, keep an eye out for sightings of deer or elk grazing alongside expansive open fields and crystal-clear streams.

At its conclusion in La Pine, visitors can enjoy exploring charming downtown shops or indulging in local delicacies at some of the town’s best eateries. For those looking for something more offbeat during their stay, there are plenty of unique activities such as lava field hikes or guided float trips down the Deschutes River where bird watchers may even catch sight of bald eagles soaring high above them! Regardless of how long your stay is or what activities are on offer – Millican Valley Scenic Drive is sure to provide travelers with plenty of lasting memories for years to come!

Millican Valley Scenic Drive

10. High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway

The High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway is a beautiful drive through Central Oregon that offers stunning views of the Cascade Mountains and other natural attractions. Spanning more than 200 miles, this scenic byway takes travelers through numerous towns, deserts, forests, mountains, and rivers.

The route begins in Redmond, winding through several towns along the way including Bend, Madras, Biggs Junction, and Fossil. Along the route is the spectacular Painted Hills of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and Fort Rock State Park with its giant monoliths. Travelers can also explore the Deschutes River Canyon offering thrilling whitewater rafting trips. The picturesque Crooked River cuts through a deep canyon as it passes into Smith Rock State Park filled with sheer cliffs and rugged formations.

Other highlights include Lake Billy Chinook which is created by three major rivers (Deschutes River, Metolius River, and Crooked Rivers) forming an amazing body of water surrounded by sheer cliffs and breathtaking vistas. Further along, is The Cove Palisades State Park where visitors can take in impressive rock formations as well as explore vast lakes for fishing and boating activities. At nearby Paulina Peak observe incredible mountain panoramas while looking down on some of the most beautiful blue-green lakes in Oregon.

The High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway offers plenty of opportunities to view wildlife such as Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, or even coyotes while providing stunning scenery along the way. With its diverse landscape ranging from desert terrain to pine forests to majestic mountains, there’s something to please everyone’s eyes!

Whether you’re a nature lover or birdwatcher or just looking for some peace and quiet away from big cities you’ll find it all here! So come experience Central Oregon’s own High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway – a must-see for anyone visiting Oregon!

High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway

Tips for Enjoying the Drive

Central Oregon is home to some of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the entire country. From winding mountain roads with stunning views of high desert terrain to meandering riverside paths surrounded by lush vegetation, these scenic drives are a must-do if you’re visiting Central Oregon!

To help you get the most out of your drive, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure you know what route you want to take, and where you want to stop along the way so that you can maximize your time spent on the road. Research any points of interest or sites along your route that you may want to explore. This can help make your trip even more enjoyable and enriching.
  2.  Be prepared for weather variations and changing conditions along your route. Always bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as sun protection if needed. It’s also a good idea to check out what the specific weather conditions are like before heading out so that you can plan accordingly.
  3.  make sure to have an appropriate vehicle for the type of drive that you’re doing – this could range from a sturdy 4×4 off-roading vehicle for rugged mountain trails, or simply a reliable sedan for more paved routes with occasional gravel sections. Also, remember to check tire pressure and other maintenance needs before departing!
  4.  Have fun! Take lots of pictures along your journey and be sure to give yourself enough time so that you can fully appreciate all there is to see and experience on your scenic drive!

Best Time to Visit:

Springtime is an ideal time to take a scenic drive in Central Oregon as the days are longer and temperatures are comfortable. During this season, wildflowers begin to bloom, making for vibrant displays of color along the way. Wildlife can also be spotted at this time, including deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and golden eagles. The weather further offers up favourable conditions with clear skies that give way to long-distance views of alpine peaks and lush valleys.

In the summer months, temperatures soar but the roads are less crowded due to the hot weather keeping people indoors. This makes them ideal for those who prefer a quieter experience while still enjoying stunning vistas and plenty of outdoor activities like camping or fishing along the way. At this time of year, wildflowers will have fully come into bloom across meadows and alongside rivers and reservoirs, creating a picturesque backdrop for your journey.

Autumn features shades of yellow, red, and orange as trees transition into cooler seasons. While colder temperatures become more frequent in October and November, road trips can still be enjoyed during these months if you come prepared with warm clothing and blankets for those chilly evenings around campfires or inside tents. Aspens also provide plenty of golden color during this season along with several other species like maple trees, which turn bright crimson just before winter arrives on the scene.

Winter brings snowfall to Central Oregon’s high-desert regions making roads impassable at times, so early December or late March may be best suited if you plan on taking a driving tour through this area during colder months when snow is likely present in higher elevations like mountain passes or on mountain roads in general.

In addition to snow-covered forests providing breathtaking scenery during these times of the year, wildlife enthusiasts should keep an eye out as elk tend to migrate towards lower areas as they seek food sources amidst winter’s chillier conditions.

Additionally, bald eagle sightings often increase around bodies of water where fish are plentiful throughout wintertime in Central Oregon giving visitors even more reason to appreciate their beautiful surroundings while out on the road during colder months!

Preparing for the Drive:

The best way to explore Central Oregon’s scenic routes is to start by planning out your route in advance. There are a variety of options for travelers depending on their desired destination and length of stay. For those looking for an extended journey, consider taking advantage of one of the many loop routes available that allow you to see several different sites along your way. Or if you prefer a more direct route, opt for one of the straight drives that take you directly from point A to point B without any detours or side trips.

No matter which option you choose, make sure you plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the sights. Be sure to bring along some snacks, drinks, and even a picnic lunch for longer routes as there are plenty of opportunities for breaks along the way. It’s also wise to take along extra clothes depending on the weather as Central Oregon can have unpredictable temperatures throughout all four seasons.

Another great way to enhance your experience is by bringing along binoculars or other optical equipment so that you can get an even closer look at wildlife and other things you may spot during your journey. You’ll also want a reliable camera or phone with plenty of space on memory cards or phones so that you can capture all those incredible views on film – making sure these items are fully charged prior to setting off is also essential!

Finally, be sure not only to adhere to posted speed limits but also to drive carefully as many roads don’t have guard rails or street lights while winding through sparsely populated areas – it’s important not only for safety but also so that everyone can enjoy these scenic drives in perfect peace and tranquility!

Must-Have Supplies:

Whether you’re planning a short-day trip or a multi-day excursion, having the right supplies for your scenic drive in Central Oregon can make all the difference to your journey. When it comes to packing for a road trip, there are some must-have items that will help make sure your experience is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

First things first: make sure you have enough fuel! Central Oregon has vast stretches of beautiful landscape and winding roads; so, when it comes time to fill up, plan ahead and be aware of where gas stations are located along your route. This can help prevent getting stranded in an unfamiliar area.

In addition to fuel, having snacks and drinks on hand is also important. There are lots of great places to stop along the way in Central Oregon such as convenience stores and roadside stands offering local products like fresh fruit and made-to-order sandwiches. But if you’re looking to save time (or money) while on the go, having some pre-packaged snacks and bottled water will come in handy.

As far as clothing goes, layers are key! Depending on which route you take through Central Oregon, temperatures can vary drastically with elevation changes so be sure to pack accordingly–for both warm and cold weather conditions. Additionally, since many areas throughout the region get very sunny during the summer months, don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses too!

Finally, if you’re taking photos or videos along your tour of the region (which we recommend!), it’s always good practice to bring extra batteries or battery chargers for any electronic devices you may be using during your journey. With this extra boost of power, you won’t miss out on any exciting sights along the way!

Road Conditions:

Central Oregon is known for its beautiful and scenic drives, but travelers should keep in mind the road conditions that can vary by season. In summer, due to the warm temperatures and high elevation, dirt roads may become dusty, rocky, and slippery. To help ensure safe travel, it’s important to check the most recent weather forecast before heading out. During summer months, thunderstorms can cause flash floods which can make some roads impassable.

In winter, snow and ice often appear on higher elevations and mountain passes. Drivers should be cautious when navigating icy or snow-covered roads. Snowdrifts caused by strong winds often leave deep snow piles in low-lying areas so drivers should use caution even when driving on regular highways. Additionally, many of the roads have hairpin turns which are especially hazardous during icy conditions so it’s important that drivers take plenty of time to slow down at these points.

It’s also important to note that some of the more remote routes may not have regular maintenance services so it’s a good idea for travelers to plan ahead and know what type of terrain they will encounter along their journey. For example, some mountain roads may have loose rocks or steep slopes making them dangerous for cars without high clearance or all-wheel drive vehicles. It’s also essential to bring along enough supplies such as food, water, and extra layers of clothing in case of an unplanned detour or delay due to heavy rain or snowfall.

Ultimately, Central Oregon offers many incredible scenic drives but travelers must account for changing road conditions throughout the year in order to stay safe while exploring this beautiful region.


In conclusion, Central Oregon provides some of the most breathtaking and stunning scenic drives in the United States. From the snow-capped mountains of Mt. Bachelor to the deep river canyons of Deschutes National Forest, Central Oregon has a variety of awe-inspiring landscapes that are sure to leave an impression on any traveler.

Whether you’re just passing through or making a day trip out of one of its many majestic drives, taking in all that Central Oregon has to offer is sure to be an unforgettable experience. From high desert passes with awe-inspiring views, to lush green forests and icy snowfields, there’s something for everyone when it comes to exploring this beautiful corner of the Pacific Northwest. So strap in, roll down your windows and take a scenic drive along one (or more!) of Central Oregon’s many roads! There’s no doubt that you’ll return home with stories full of appreciation for all the natural beauty this area has to offer.