Driving Tours of Historic Landmarks, Tourist Spots, Recreation
From the Historic Columbia River Highway to the Pacific Coast along Highway 101 or the Cascade Mountains, Oregon offers beautiful driving tours, most year-round.
The most amazing feature of Oregon’s scenic routes and highways is that many of them are open year-round. Although the routes through the mountain passes may be closed during winter months, the scenic routes along the Oregon Coast treat visits all year to amazing natural wonders.
Historic Columbia River Highway
The Historic Columbia River Highway follows I-84 along the Columbia River Gorge from Troutdale to The Dalles. This 70-mile drive winds its way around the cliffs lining the Columbia River Gorge. The route travels past infamous waterfalls, through giant forests with views of the mighty Columbia River along the way. This tour is an excellent choice during autumn months when the fall foliage lights up the Oregon forests. Multnomah Falls and Bonneville Dam are popular stops along the scenic route.
Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway runs along the entire Oregon Coast from Astoria to Brookings. This 350-mile stretch can be a monstrous adventure taking at least 10 to 12 hours. The beauty of the scenic route should be enjoyed and taken in with a multitude of stops. The Pacific Coast Highway offers ample pull-outs, rest areas, and state parks for breaks and stretching the legs. Many of the stops offer excellent views of the Pacific Ocean. This route is best travels in two days, with a stopover at a local bed and breakfast or cabins along the beach. The best time to travel along the Oregon Coast is during the early fall months when the weather is usually clear and warm.
McKenzie Pass – Santiam Pass Scenic Loop
Oregon’s Cascade Mountains offer breath-taking views in Central Oregon. The McKenzie Pass to Santiam Pass is an 82-mile loop with an average travel time of 4 hours. The loop is best driven during the summer months as the roads can be closed during winter weather. The peaks still boast snow-packed summits during the summer months. The most visible peaks are the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Washington. This scenic loop is best started and ended in Sisters, a city offering ample services for tourists as a popular vacation spot.
Three Capes Scenic Route
This 40-mile route travels from Tillamook to Pacific City along some of Oregon’s most beautiful seascapes. Cape Meares Lighthouse is a great place to spot, to get an almost 360-degree view of the cape. Also at Cape Meares is the giant Octopus Tree. Netarts Bay and Oceanside are fun excursions along the route. Three Arch Rocks just off the shore at Oceanside is a popular photographic icon. The Sandlake Sand Dunes area is located just north of Pacific City, a local favorite for recreation. Cape Kiwanda at Pacific City offers guests a great place to watch the waves or photograph Haystack Rock. Travelers can connect back to Highway 101 just south of Pacific City.