Oregon Scenic Byways
This 14-night tour that will take you along some of Oregon's beautiful scenic byways. Few states can boast such a varied landscape as Oregon. Visit high desert plains, deep river canyons, glaciered volcanic peaks, rich and fertile valleys leading to the rugged Pacific Coast. Oregon boasts nearly 400 miles of pristine, public coastline, which is home to legendary seafood, historic lighthouses, stunning state parks and breathtaking viewpoints. Charge up your camera and prepare to be amazed!
- Crater Lake National Park
- Columbia River Gorge
- Pacific Coast Scenic Byway
Portland is situated at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers and is a city of discreet charms. It is a small accessible city that is beginning to grow as people have come to visit and stayed. Downtown Portland is filled with a mix of old and new architectural styles, coffeehouses and tree-lined streets. Within a few minutes drive of the city are fantastic Pinot wineries and the foothills of Mount Hood.
The city has a reputation for being bike and pedestrian friendly, manifested in its fantastic walking and cycling paths, which enable visitors to explore its blend of galleries, markets, bars and much more. Take a stroll through the Skidmore Historic District, along the Tom McCall Waterfront Park and descend on the Pioneer Courthouse Square for a relaxing latte. Here you are in the centre of shopping and dining in Portland. The trendy North West district also offers many interesting shops and cafes to stroll around or head for the Pearl District for very stylish cafes and restaurants alongside many antique and home design shops. Portland's gardens are some of the finest in the country - thanks to the weather! There are numerous world-class public gardens and parks to be enjoyed. Spend a morning in Washington Park, home of the Rose Test Gardens, the Japanese Gardens and the exciting World Forestry Centre.
Today you will be experiencing one of Oregon's most amazing scenic byways - the Historic Columbia River Highway. From Troutdale, outside the city on the banks of the Columbia River, the Highway is a 70-mile narrow winding drive. The highway climbs to the rural towns of Springdale and Corbett, offering dazzling peeks at Mt. Hood. Your first view of the gorge comes at the Portland Women's Forum State Park.
Heading into a mossy rainforest, a series of graceful figure-eight loops gently drops you 600 feet. Within five miles of each other, you'll encounter four dramatic cataracts - Latourell, Shepperd's Dell, Bridal Veil and Wahkeena falls. Park up and walk to take a closer look. Next is two-tiered Multnomah Falls. At 620 feet, only three falls in the nation are higher, and none are more beautiful. From here it's a short drive to the Cascade Locks, a 1920's toll bridge marks the site of the Native-Americans' Bridge of the Gods. Twenty miles further east is the town of Hood River where you will be staying tonight. Hood River is the center for recreation on the Columbia River, which naturally lends the city a sense of fun and youthfulness. Windsurfing is a huge sport here as the strong river currents and westerly winds make for perfect conditions. Alternatively there are bike rentals to be enjoyed and many nearby trails to take.
Head back west along the I-84 and at Troutdale travel south towards Estacada and the start of the West Cascades Scenic Byway. Here the route hugs the beautiful Clackamas River with its stunning rapids and glassy pools. Stop to have a soak at Breitenbush Hot Springs or enjoy at swim and lunch at Detroit Lake. Follow the North Santiam River to Marion Forks where you can stop and visit the fish hatchery.
Continue on to the US20 and the Santiam Pass Scenic Byway. These eastern Cascade foothills are full of outdoor activities to be enjoyed including Suttle Lake Resort where you can enjoy boating, windsurfing and fishing.
Take a side road to Camp Sherman and see the Metolius River bubble up from underground springs before heading onto the town of Sisters, located in the shadows of the Three Sisters Peaks - Faith, Hope and Charity. Leave the highway and continue onto Bend where you will spend 2 nights.
Bend was originally called Farewell Bend as it is located where pioneer roads converge. Downtown Bend has been recently revived with shops, art galleries and fine restaurants. The city is the perfect place to explore the region - maybe drive the McKenzie Pass scenic byway, rent a bike and explore the city's many bike trails, or drive out to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument to see the Lava Cave and Lava Forest.
Travel south of Bend and join The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, which takes you through the very heart of Central Oregon, with the majestic Cascade Mountains providing a constant backdrop. The beginning of your drive takes you through the Deschutes National Forest before turning west where you will encounter Mt Bachelor - home of the areas top ski resort. In summer, visitors can use the Express Lift to take you up to over 7,000 ft. From here you can see Mt Adams in Washington and Mt Shasta in California. Stop for a picnic lunch at Devils Lake, or a bit further south at Elk Lake and enjoy relaxing on a rented boat with some lunch.
Not too much further south of here you will be joining the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway that will take you to Crater Lake. This Byway extends all the way to Mt Lassen in California and offers fascinating volcanic geology and scenery. You will be stopping at Crater Lake National Park for 2 nights to explore this stunning region. This National Park was created by the eruption and collapse of Mt Mazama. The remaining six mile wide caldera is the site of Crater Lake. Its vivid blue colour and waters purity is attributed to the fact that only rain and snowfall contribute to the water. The 33-mile loop winds around the rim of the lake, offering many viewpoints and side roads.
Joining the 350 miles Pacific Coast Scenic Byway that traces the entire Oregon coastline. Pounding surf, endless beaches and mature forests all provide many recreational activities along the way. Old Town Florence has been beautifully restored in colorful themes reminiscent of the Victorian era. Numerous restaurants, art galleries, clothing and specialty shops are mixed among Gazebo Park and the new Boardwalk overlooking the fishing docks.
En route to Newport stop in Depoe Bay where you can also do a Whale Watch Cruise. Newport’s bustling waterfront is full of restaurants, shops, galleries, charter fishing boats and canneries and is also home to historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, and Oregon Undersea Gardens.
Hugging the Columbia River, the charming town of Astoria is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies and the last stop at the western end of the Lewis & Clark Trail.
Before you leave tomorrow perhaps take a day out to one of the numerous wineries in the Willamette Valley. There are around 30 wineries in Yamhill County alone so you might have to narrow down your choices to enable you to spend time at one or two!
- Return flights from London (Please ask about other departure airports)
- 14 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
- Fully insured compact car hire (larger vehicles are available)
- A detailed and comprehensive travel pack with driving instructions and maps
Daily departures from June to September.