Central Oregon's Scenic Byways

Cascade Lakes Scenic BywayWhether you want to show off central Oregon's beauty to visitors...or to yourself...these scenic drives are a real treat! There are three National Scenic Byways on the Deschutes National Forest. These drives are off the beaten path and allow you to experience natural and cultural landscapes that are full of fascinating stories and dramatic beauty. These byways represent the diverse views and unique environments that attract so many visitors to central Oregon. The links below are to America's Byways website at http://www.byways.org/.

  • Known as Oregon's Highway in the Sky, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway lifts you up to the clouds on a 66-mile drive through the Cascade Mountains peaks and alpine lakes.
  • A journey through the passes on the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway starts in Sisters, climbs two passes, and carves through 82 miles of landscapes hardened by lava and softened by trees embracing the road.
  • The Outback Scenic Byway, with its sounds and colors of silence, is a 171-mile drive that takes you to small towns with tall tales, a fortress-like rock, a geyser, and peaceful shades of pale throughout the outback.

The purpose of the National Scenic Byways program is to recognize outstanding drives that celebrate the values and diversity of our communities. It also promotes the scenic landscapes that attract travelers from all over the world to our large and small towns.

The National Scenic Byways Program began in 1996 when the U.S. Secretary of Transportation designated the first National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. These were nominated by local communities and state and federal land agencies.

To be nominated as a National Scenic Byway, one or more of six intrinsic qualities must be present. These qualities include the following values:

  • Natural
  • Scenic
  • Recreational
  • Archaeological
  • Cultural
  • Historic