Details

  • DesignationNational Scenic Byway (1998)
  • Intrinsic QualitiesScenic
  • LocationOR
  • Length66 miles
Byway Visitor Information
USDA Forest Service
Statewide Byway Partners
Oregan Byways Map
Travel Oregon
The snow-covered peaks of Mt. Bachelor rise above the Deschutes National Forest on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.
Brett Hansen Photo

Overview

Alpine lakes scatter across the high country of Central Oregon, where striking volcanic strata and the snowcapped Cascade Range provide the perfect backdrop for this 66-mile scenic drive.

Local Byway Partners

Story of the Byway

Cross paths with early explorers and trappers such as Kit Carson, John C. Fremont and Nathaniel J. Wyeth as you drive the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.

Driving Directions

From Bend, take State Highway 372 (Century Drive) east for 4.5 miles to the boundary of the Deschutes National Forest where the Byway begins. The Byway comes to an end as Forest Route 46 meets State Highway 58.

Points of Interest

  • Drake Park

    Historic park which nudges up alongside the Deschutes River,

  • Old Mill District

    A shuttered paper mill reborn as a iverfront commercial core with shopping, enter-tainment and a network of walking/cycling paths.

  • High Desert Museum

    Excellent introduction to the area, with cultural and natural history exhibits, and a large outdoor area of live-animal habitats.

  • Newberry National Volcanic Monument

    Encompasses a 500-foot/152-meter-high cinder cone, lava tubes and other features.

  • Deschutes National Forest

    1.8 million acres on the esat side of the Cascade Range.

  • Deschutes River

    access to fishing, canoeing and two notable waterfalls, Benham and Dillon

  • Broken Top Mountain

    A rare opportunity to see inside a stratovolcano — a tall, canonical volcano.

  • Sparks Lake

    An exceptionally picturesque waterway covering about 250 acres, much of its shore jagged lava

  • Devils Hill

    Archaeologists have found evidence of Native American encampments here, along with pictographs on Devils Hill dating back thousands of years. As NASA readied for its moon-landing missions in the 1960s, astronauts trained in these lunar-esque lava fields.

  • Three Sisters Wilderness

    Area around the crest of the high cascades. Good for mountaineering with beautiful lakes and meadows.

  • Elk Lake Recreation Area

    Offers easy water access, along with cabins, dining, a campground, a marina, boat rentals and other services

  • Crane Prairie Reservoir

    Famous for its 5- to 10-pound lunker rainbow trout, known as “Cranebows.” The eastern shore of the reservoir is an osprey management area; the fish-eating birds of prey are frequently seen here, along with other raptors and shore-birds, including sandhill cranes.

Itinerary

  • Explore the Cascades

    Starting right outside the city of Bend, head west on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway to begin your journey. If you are a hiking and camping buff, this is the perfect drive for you. The first area that you can explore and traverse is the Greek Lakes Trailhead, which is right below the peaks of Broken Top and South Sister. Also located in this general area is Mount Bachelor and Ski Resort, which is the perfect place to stay year-round.

    Continuing on the Byway, follow it south along the Deschutes River. You will be passing dozens of lakes and natural areas that are completely available to stop at and enjoy on foot rather than in the car. The first lake and area that you should absolutely stop at is Elk Lake and its recreation area. This area gives you plenty of opportunity to experience the beauty of the lake with a myriad of activities. After your time there, continue south until you hit the Crane Prairie Reservoir. This spot is perfect for any fisherman, as it is famous for its unique rainbow trout. For you birdwatchers, there is an Osprey Observation Point at this point along the road.

    Your journey along this Byway ends near Crescent and Odell Lake, which are also great opportunities to throw another cast in or even launch a kayak. Turning back and driving the Byway again is also another option if you want to hit some of the spots that you missed!

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