Scenic Drives in Portland

Outside Nomad contains affiliate links and is a member of Amazon LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See our disclosure policy for more information

11 Epic Oregon Scenic Byways – Must Do Scenic Drives In oregon

Oregon does a fantastic job when it comes to spectacular road trips. The Beaver State is the mecca of lovely backroads and highways, and the fact that its terrain is so wonderfully varied makes driving through each and every one of them a real treat.

If you’re looking for a more personal way to see Oregon, consider getting behind the wheel and hitting the road. After all, rather than focusing on the final destinations of your journey, an Oregon scenic byways road trip is all about making pit stops along the route!

We’ve spent years driving these scenic routes and they honestly never get old. From densely forested areas to vast desert regions and stunning ocean views of the Pacific, Oregon has a variety of spectacular drives wherever you look.

If you’re still undecided where to begin your journey, consider our hand picked scenic drives in Oregon. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!

The Most Scenic Drives In Oregon

Join us as we share our favorite scenic drives and byways in Oregon

Oregon Scenic Byways Map

Below is a map with the Oregon scenic byways as well as other notable Oregon scenic drives. You can click on the map to select a specific drive, pan, zoom and even share the routes to your phone.

To toggle particular routes on and off, click the square box to the left of “Oregon Scenic Byways” title in the top black header box.

You can also click the individual route map image to be taken to the Google maps page.

Note: To access routes 9 and 11 click on the links below. Google maps has a limit of how many routes fit on a single page.
9. Hells Canyon Scenic Byway
11. Oregon Outback Scenic Byway

1. Portland Scenic Drives – Journey Through Time Oregon Scenic Byway

portland scenic byways

As we embarked on the 286-mile adventure along the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway, we couldn’t help but feel transported back to the Old West. Starting in the quaint community of Biggs and ending in the charming Baker City, this fantastic route led us through ghost towns and small farming communities that seemed to come straight out of a western movie.

Check out ➡ 15 Weekend Getaways From Portland: The Best Oregon Weekends
Check out ➡ A Weekend In Portland (19+ Best Things To Do During Your Trip To Portland)

The Journey Through Time Oregon Scenic Byway

Journey Through Time Scenic Byway portland oregon

Trip Length: 286 miles one-way, 8-10 hours


  • Sherman County Historical Museum
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monum.
  • Wheeler High School
  • Painted Hills John Day
  • Wild and Scenic John Day River
  • Sheep Rock
  • Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site

Alongside much of the route, the Wild and Scenic John Day River – North America’s second longest undammed river – proved to be a playground for outdoor recreation. The rafting, fishing, and camping in this picturesque piece of Oregon country is amazing.

For you geology buffs and fossil enthusiast, don’t miss the interpretive trails at the John Day Fossil Beds. And for a glimpse into more recent history, check out the well-preserved remnants of Oregon’s pioneer life.

From the Sherman County Museum in Moro to the Kam Wah Chung Museum in John Day, the gold mining remnants in Sumpter, and the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center near Baker City, we felt like we were walking through the pages of a history book.

2. Pacific Coast Oregon Scenic Byway

haystack rock portlans scenic drives

The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway is an absolute must. The drive stretches 363 miles along the coast and is Oregon’s most famous scenic drive for all of the right reasons.

Check out ➡ 14 Best Oregon Beach Towns (Must SeeCoastal Cities And Beaches)

Pacific Coast Oregon Scenic Byway

Pacific coast scenic byway oregon

Trip Length: 363 miles one-way, 10-12 hours


  • Fort Stevens State Park
  • Ecola State Park
  • Three Capes Scenic Loop
  • Cascade Head Preserve
  • Oregon Coast Aquarium
  • Heceta Head Lighthouse
  • Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
  • Samuel H. Boardman State Corridor

The state’s coastal route provides spectacular views of the rugged Oregon coast and the Pacific Ocean as it passes through breathtaking vistas of seaside cliffs, lush valleys, sand dunes, tide pools, tiny fishing villages, and more!

This lengthy route is best done in sections if you don’t have a few days to tackle it in one drive. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve done this scenic drive and every time we discover something new.

Make sure you allow plenty of time for pit stops and taking in the views along the drive because Oregon has some of the most fantastic attractions along this route!

3. Trees to Sea Scenic Byway

trees to sea scenic byway portland

Oregon reigns supreme in terms of varied terrains, and if you can’t make up your mind between exploring The Beaver State’s lush woods or the coast, this journey has it all!

Trees to Sea Scenic Byway

Trees to Sea Scenic Byway portland oregon

Trip Length: 68 miles one-way, 2-3 hours


  • Banks-Vernonia State Trail
  • Browns Camp
  • Tillamook Forest Center, Tillamook Creamery
  • Tillamook Air Museum
  • Cape Lookout State Park
  • Three Arch Rocks
  • Cape Meares Lighthouse

This favorite scenic drive in Oregon, which stretches 68 miles from the attractive Tualatin Valley to the wild Oregon coast, features a lot of stunning sights to see.

While the journey may be completed in just over three hours, spending a few days along the way is highly recommended to discover the region’s natural wonders.

There are several stops on this route that you can make. I suggest a wine-tasting in Tualatin Valley, hiking at Tillamook State Forest, and seeing whales and puffins at Cape Meares State Park.

4. Historic Columbia River Highway- Top 3 Scenic Drives In Oregon

multonomah falls scenic drive

The Historic Columbia River Highway is one of the most scenic drives in Oregon on this list for waterfall lovers. The Highway winds through the Columbia River Gorge and offers beautiful views of the river, waterfalls, and mountains.

Historic Columbia River Highway

Historic Columbia River Highway portland drives

Trip Length: 70 miles one-way, 3-5 hours


  • Troutdale
  • Porland Women’s Forum Scenic Viewpoint
  • Vista House at Crown Point
  • Multnomah Falls
  • Columbia River Highway State Trail
  • Bonneville Lock and Dam
  • Bridge of the Gods
  • Twin Tunnels Trail
  • Columbia Gorge Discovery Center

There are plenty of stops along the way where you can enjoy the scenery, waterfalls, hiking trails, and explore the area. Along the way, you can stop at several places like Multnomah Falls, and the Vista House.

You can find more information about the Historic Columbia River Highway on the Oregon State Parks website.

5. Hood River Fruit Loop Scenic Drive

Fruit loop in hood river scenic drive

The Hood River Fruit Loop is a must do 35-mile drive around the Hood River Valley in Oregon. Along the way, you’ll experience views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, as well as lush wildflower meadows on Mt. Hood itself.

This is a fun short and easy scenic drive to hit while visiting Hood River.

Check out ➡ Best Things To Do In Hood River: Adventure Seekers This Is For You

Hood River Fruit Loop

portland scenic drives Hood River Fruit Loop

Trip Length: 35 miles one-way, 2-3 hours


  • Pearl’s Place Fruit Stand
  • Mt Hood Winery
  • Smiley’s Red Barn
  • Fox-Tail Cider & Distillery
  • Draper Girls Cider Company
  • Lavender Valley Farms
  • Apple Valley Country Store & Bakery
  • Hood River U-Pick
  • Cathedral Ridge Winery

The route includes stops at various orchards, farms, and wineries where you can enjoy the scenery, baked goods, wine, and the many varieties of fruit.

Check out ➡ Unique Adrenaline Inspired Hood River Breweries

A couple of our favorite stops along the way are  Mt. Hood Winery, Cascade Fruit Company, Hood River Distillers, and the numerous breweries in the area.

Check out things to do in Hood River and download the Hood River Fruit Loop Map so you don’t miss any stops along the way.

6. Mount Hood Scenic Byway

Mount Hood scenic drive

The Mount Hood Scenic Byway begins in Troutdale and ends in Hood River. The Byway climbs up the mountain and passes through alpine lakes, wildflower meadows, and dense forests.

The drive is a beautiful way to see some of the best scenery that Oregon offers and is the perfect addition when visiting Hood River.

Check out ➡ Oregon Small Towns: The Best Of The Best Small Towns In Oregon

Mt. Hood Scenic Byway

portland Mount Hood Scenic Byway

Trip Length: 100 miles one-way, allow 3-4 hours


  • Hood River
  • Hood River Country Fruit Loop
  • Mount Hood Railroad
  • Fox-Tail Cider & Distillery
  • Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort
  • Timberline Lodge
  • Wildwood Recreation Site
  • Sandy Ridge Trail System
  • Jonsrud Viewpoint

The route will take you from Sandy, Oregon to Government Camp on Mount Hood. The drive is about 100 miles long and takes an average of 3 hours.

You’ll pass through small rural towns and cross a few rivers as you climb up the mountain. A couple notable communities you’ll pass as you go up the mountain are Welches, Rhododendron, Zigzag and Government Camp.

A drive on the Mount Hood Oregon Scenic Byway is a must for anyone visiting Oregon.

7. Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway AKA “Century Drive”

century drive scenic byway

The Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway is a National Scenic Byway that winds 66 miles in Deschutes and Klamath counties. The route begins on Bend’s west side, where OR-372 quickly ascends to Mt. Bachelor.

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

cascade lakes scenic byways map

Trip Length: 68 miles one-way, allow 3-5 hours


  • Drake Park
  • Cascade Lakes Highway
  • Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort
  • Broken Top Mountain
  • Sparks Lake
  • Elk Lake Recreation Area
  • Little Lava Lake
  • Cran Praire Reservoir

The Cascade Lakes Highway or Century Drive is called this because it was once a 100-mile/161-kilometer red cinder loop road.

The route travels past some of the most picturesque lakes and several reservoirs on the upper Deschutes River, providing stunning mountain views. The byway offers outstanding views of Mount Bachelor and the Three Sisters (Oregon) mountains.

As you descend from Mt. Bachelor to Dutchman Flat, you’ll get an excellent view of Broken Top Mountain, which offers a unique chance to see a stratovolcano – a tall, traditional volcano.

The numerous lakes in this region were formed by volcanoes and glaciers working together; many were formed in basins scoured by ice and blocked by lava dams.

The scenic drive goes by an enormous wet meadow at the northern end of Sparks Lake, which is dotted with islands and has a picturesque waterway that covers 250 acres and contains much of its shoreline jagged lava.

8. Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway

sumpter gold dredge

This scenic byway provides a 106-mile/171-kilometer journey through the mountains west of Baker City, which has long been a lucrative hunting ground for Plateau Indian tribes and later where miners came to seek their fortunes.

Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway

Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway

Trip Length: 106 miles one-way, allow 3-5 hours


  • Geiser Grand Hotel
  • Powder River
  • Phillips Lake
  • Sumpter Village Dredge
  • Ah Hee Diggings Interpretive Site
  • Anthony lakes
  • Elkhorn Crest National Recreation Trail
  • Eastern Oregon Museum

The Elkhorn Mountains and Baker Valley are really lovely places, full of interest and history. You’ll experience country rich in scenery, geology, and natural resources.

Many recreational opportunities are available along the way, including hunting, fishing, camping, picnicking, boating, skiing, and hiking.

Make sure to take your time and enjoy the views!

9. Hells Canyon Scenic Byway

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway

This horseshoe route spanning 208 miles/335 kilometers showcases two stunning natural attractions in America’s northeast corner – Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge, and the Wallowa Mountains, also known as “Little Switzerland”.

Hells canyon scenic byway

Trip Length: 208 miles one-way, allow 7-8 hours


  • La Grande
  • Eagle Cap Excursion Train
  • Minam State Recreation Area
  • Wallowa Band Nez Perce Trails
  • Wallowa Lake
  • Hells Canyon Overlook
  • National Historic Oregon Trail Center
  • Baker City

This region holds great significance as the ancestral homeland of the Nez Perce tribe.

It’s surprising that this region remains relatively undiscovered by the world despite its unparalleled beauty. The towering Wallowa Mountains dominate the landscape while the vast ranching valleys provide the perfect vantage point to appreciate the stunning views.

Living just a short drive from this area has been an amazing gift with countless hours spent exploring this untouched slice of heaven.

The Eagle Cap Wilderness, formed by many of the peaks rising above 9,000 feet/2,743 meters, is a backpacker’s and horseback rider’s paradise. The area also boasts Hells Canyon, a great cleft in the land, and the untamed Snake River.

Despite its hidden gem status, this region is easily accessible via Interstate 84. Keep this secret to yourself – it’s a true treasure.

10. Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (Includes Crater Lake)

crater lake scenic drives

Crater Lake is Oregons only national park, and this 140-mile loop is the perfect way to see the state’s volcanic countryside!

Check out ➡ Crater Lake In The Winter: What To See And Do At Crater Lake

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

Trip Length: 140 miles one-way, allow 5-7 hours


  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Rim Drive
  • Wizard Island
  • Upper Klamath Wildlife Refuge
  • Upper Klamath Lake
  • Klamath Falls
  • Favell Museum
  • Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge

Along the route, you’ll have stunning views of alpine lakes and snow-dusted mountains, all of which were formed as a consequence of the state’s volcanic activity.

This must do scenic drive in Oregon includes the famous 33-mile loop around Crater Lake’s rim, making it a fantastic way to reach the national park’s most stunning viewpoints while also providing you with some insight into its volcanic history!

11. Oregon Outback Scenic Byway

oregon outback scenic byway

This 171-mile route will take you from the alluring Deschutes National Forest to the high-deserts on the California border, making it an ideal spot if you’re searching for a 4-6 hour trip with a lot of variety in scenery.

Check out ➡ 28 Best Things To Do In Bend Oregon: For Your Next Adventure

Oregon Outback Scenic Byway

oregon outback scenic byway

Trip Length: 171 miles one-way, allow 4-6 hours


  • La Pine
  • Fort Rock
  • Paulina Marsh
  • Summer Lake Wildlife Area
  • Albert Rim
  • Old Perpetual
  • Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge
  • Goose Lake State Recreation Area

This journey begins in La Pine and finishes near Lakeview, showcasing a perspective of Oregon that isn’t as well-known as the typical lush landscape. The scenery will change abruptly from lush flora to plains, alkali flats, and rocky terrain as you drive away from the forest.

The entire journey is jam-packed with breathtaking vistas, including a towering collection of rock barriers known as Fort Rock, an alkaline lake where wildlife sightings are routine, caves with the oldest evidence of human existence in North America, and so much more!

Get Out And Explore Oregon’s Scenic Drives

I hope that this list of the most beautiful drives in Oregon helps you plan your next vacation. While I might go on for hours about other beautiful drives, these ones, in particular, are a fantastic way to start exploring Oregon’s wonderfully varying terrain!

Have you ever driven the Oregon scenic byways? What are some other beautiful drives that should be on this list? Tell me your favorites in the comments below!

outside nomad jill wheeler author bio
Written by Jill Wheeler

Hi there! I’m Jill, a full-time travel blogger and passionate adventurer. I left the 9-to-5 grind to embrace the nomadic travel lifestyle and have never looked back. I love immersing myself in diverse cultures, and through my stories, photos, and tips, I hope to inspire others to embark on their own adventures. When I’m not exploring the world, you’ll find me skiing, mountain biking, or tasting the culture of breathtaking locations.

How long does it take to drive the Mt hood scenic byway?

The Mt. Hood Scenic Highway spans 105 miles in total length. While it is possible to drive the entire route in approximately 3 hours, it is recommended to allocate at least 8 hours in order to fully appreciate and explore the various attractions that can be found along this picturesque journey.

How far is cannon beach from Portland?

Cannon Beach is just 90 minutes west of Portland and four hours southwest of Seattle.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
  • Your cart is empty.