Regional Guide

Scenic Driving - Southern Oregon Cascades and the Southern Coast

The 81-mile drive (about three hours) from Bandon to Brookings along the southern Oregon coast is a great year-round excursion. Cruise down U.S. 101, passing cranberry bogs, farmland, and beautiful ocean vistas. For an even better view, make the three-mile hike to the top of Humburg Mountain (1,756 feet). Near the end of the trip, check out Samuel H. Boardman State Park, a 10-mile strip of land lying between the highway and the ocean below. Stroll along the Oregon Coast Trail, comb the deserted, sandy beaches, and watch for migrating gray whales.

The Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway runs from Roseburg to Prospect on Oregon Routes 138, 230, and 62. This 120-mile drive (1/2 day) runs along two wild and scenic rivers—the North Umpqua and the Rogue. Cruise through Umpqua National Forest and along Diamond Lake, where you can take in views of the 8,363-foot Mount Bailey. When you reach the junction of Routes 138 and 230, a detour south brings you to Crater Lake National Park. Further down the drive, check out Natural Bridge, where the Rogue disappears underground and travels through a 200-foot lava tube.

With more than 20 scenic overlooks calling for you to stop the car, the 33-mile drive around Crater Lake will take you around two hours. Don't miss Phantom Rock and Wizard Island—two of the many wonders of Crater Lake. Stretch your legs on numerous hikes, and check out a seven-mile spur road along Rim Drive for access to the bizarre Pinnacles Overlook. Due to snow and ice buildup, the road is only open during summer.

The Outback Scenic Byway takes travelers from La Pine, in the Deschutes National Forest, to New Pine Creek, on the California Border. This 171-mile tour (three to four hours) along Oregon Route 31 and U.S. 395 passes through a lush desert environment, with grand views of Winter and Abert Rims. Observe bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and trumpeter swans in Summer Lake State Wildlife Area, and take a relaxing dip in Summer Lake Hot Springs.

From bald eagles to the deepest lake in America, the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway has its share of scenic highlights. This 140-mile drive (five to seven hours) begins at the California border and heads north along U.S. 97, passing by the many wildlife refuges of the Klamath Basin (home to the greatest concentration of wintering bald eagles in the contiguous U.S.). Continuing north on Oregon Route 62, the byway enters Crater Lake National Park and cruises along the rim of this unbelievably blue lake—the legacy of Mount Mazama's eruption some 7,000 years ago. Finally, the byway heads east along Route 138 to meets up with U.S. 97.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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