oregon scenic drives list

10 Best Oregon Scenic Drives to Take a Road Trip Through

I’m happy to say that I’ve traveled through some of the best Oregon scenic drives and while there’s honestly dozens that deserve to be listed in this post, there’s 10 in particular that I think are most worth seeing for newcomers who have never traveled through this state.

Before I share my list of the best scenic drives in Oregon, I also want to say that I’ve done a lot of road tripping through the west coast and the Pacific Northwest overall, and in my opinion the scenic drives in Oregon are the best followed by the ones in California and then finally Washington.

Here are the 10 best Oregon scenic drives I recommend checking out:

oregon scenic drives list

  1. Road 101 (Oregon Coast Highway).
  2. Interstate 84 (Upper Oregon).
  3. Historic Columbia River Highway.
  4. Road 199 (Redwood Highway).
  5. Road 35 (East Mt. Hood Area).
  6. Road 62 (Central Oregon).
  7. Rim Drive (Crater Lake National Park).
  8. Road 138 (Umpqua Highway).
  9. Road 214 (Silver Falls Drive).
  10. Road 26 (Mt. Hood Highway).

I’ll be providing instructions with where all of these Oregon scenic drives are located below but I will also be including details and things to see on each of the scenic byways on the above list.

1) Road 101 (Oregon Coast Highway):

oregon scenic drives 101 road


Let’s start with the most famous scenic drive in Oregon and that’s the 101 road. It passes through the entire western Oregon Coast and it’s about 500 miles long. On this drive, you will see a plethora of incredible coastal sights, lighthouses, mountains, many parks and towns and for most road trips, I’d devote at least 5 days to see this whole area.

I’ve done the entire 101 drive more than once and I’ll tell you that no other spot on this list has more attractions and places to stop at than here. If you have to choose a single Oregon scenic drive to do on this list (and you’ve never been to this state before), then I recommend this be the first place you go through.

What to see on this scenic byway:

  • Obviously you’ll want to do a large portion if not the entire 101 drive, but there are specific sections of it I highly recommend seeing:
  • Samuel H Boardman Scenic Corridor (It’s 40 miles long).
  • Natural Bridges Oregon (a scenic sight off the road with trails and natural bridges).
  • Secret Beach Oregon (also a great spot with hikes and sea caves).
  • Cannon Beach.
  • Making stops at all 7 lighthouses on the Oregon Coast too.
  • I also have a compilation guide on the best places to visit on the Oregon Coast that encapsulate the best stops/attractions throughout the 101 road.

2) Interstate 84 (Upper Oregon):

oregon scenic drives interstate 84


Interstate 84 also stretches for 500 miles if not more. Within Oregon, it starts in Portland, stretches through the upper most area of the state, right by Washington and then goes south east through Eastern Oregon which has a completely different look to it and there’s a bunch of things to do in Eastern Oregon on it’s own too.

Like with the Oregon Coast highway, I do recommend taking several days to enjoy this drive fully because you can also see many sights throughout. Overall what you will basically get on this Oregon scenic drive are the best views from all the different terrain varieties in the state which are the mossy green forest areas, the giant mountain areas like Mount Hood, and the desert regions of the state and that’s what makes this Oregon scenic drive so unique and highly recommended.

What to see on this scenic byway:

  • Columbia River Gorge is easily one of the best choices (50+ miles).
  • La Grande (it’s a town).
  • Leslie Gulch.
  • A great place to finish your road trip would be in Boise Idaho after.

3) Historic Columbia River Highway:

oregon scenic drives historic columbia river highway


This Oregon scenic byway actually runs parallel to some parts of Interstate 84 throughout the upper Oregon area, but only for about 30 miles. I am however recommending you do this drive separately because not only does it take you right to the best places inside Columbia River Gorge whereas Interstate 84 doesn’t, but this scenic byway is also on a higher elevation at times, so you’ll get a different view from it and the area itself is just stunning to explore overall. On it, you’ll also get access to some of the best Oregon waterfall hikes, plus scenic overlooks and much more. 

What to see on this scenic byway:

4) Road 199 (Redwood Highway):

redwood highway scenic drives in oregon


Road 199 isn’t just incredibly scenic because it has you drive through serpentine roads with mountains and waterfalls around you, but it’s also one of the best places to see Redwoods in Oregon as well, which is why a portion of this drive is called the Redwood Highway. It starts near the California Coast but goes northeast into Oregon and because California has a bunch of Redwood trees in that specific region (and it’s one of the best places to see Redwoods in California overall), it’s no surprise that you’ll also see them once you pass through into Oregon on that same drive.

I did this drive in 2022 without knowing ahead of time it’d turn out to be one of the best scenic drives in Oregon. My original plan involved going from California to a place called Toketee Falls and this is how I found out about this drive. Once I was on it, I ended up getting to Toketee Falls very late because I was making so many stops throughout road 199. 

What to see on this scenic byway:

  • There will be a bunch of Redwoods you can see near the California border on this drive.
  • There are also camp sites and trails throughout road 199 to stop at.

5) Road 35 (East Mt. Hood Area):

road 35 oregon scenic drives


Road 35 goes around the eastern side of Mount Hood and besides giving you incredible views of that on the drive, this road also provides direct access to this spot, and if you choose not to go there, you will also have a bunch of trails and overlooks scattered on it to check out as well. This road also connects with Interstate 84 that I mentioned earlier but for the most part what you will have on this scenic drive is incredible views of mountains (including Mount Hood), waterfalls and more.

What to see on this scenic byway:

  • My top recommendation is to stop at Mount Hood (there’s a resort there).

6) Road 62 (Crater Lake Highway):

volcanic legacy byway oregon scenic drives



Besides being called Crater Lake Highway, it’s also known as Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway. Besides using it to get into Crater Lake National Park from the south, I recommend doing this drive separately (it’s over 40 miles long) and the reason why is because it has a type of terrain I have never seen anywhere else in Oregon and that is tons of forest and pine trees mixed with red sand and related scenery. Normally I see this type of stuff in Arizona or Utah, but in Oregon it’s unique because of this mix and there are also several lakes, waterfalls and many campsites throughout this area. I’ll be honest, I actually enjoyed this Oregon scenic drive more than the one I did in Crater Lake. 

What to see on this scenic byway:

  • All of road 62 if you can (it’ll take at least an hour).
  • You can do a small part of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail).

7) Rim Drive (Crater Lake National Park):

crater lake scenic drives in oregon


If you drive through Road 62, I will strongly recommend that you also take the time to do the Rim Drive in Crater Lake National Park because it’s so close by. This is the main scenic drive in the park and while it’s short, it is a great way to see the park from the western side before exiting through the northern exit to it. Of course while you are on it, you can stop inside the park and check out the trails and other attractions but it is important to know that during winter (and typically late autumn) the Rim Drive is closed because of snow.

What to see on this scenic byway:

  • The main attraction to see here is Crater Lake National Park.

8) Road 138 (Umpqua Highway):

umpqua highway scenic drives in oregon


This scenic drive takes you through the upper parts of Umpqua National Forest which provide great views of the forest and mountains, but the main reason I love this drive is because it takes you through a bunch of amazing waterfall spots including Toktee Falls and Watson Falls, so in addition to doing the drive, you can also make frequent stops to see and do these waterfall hikes (most of them are easy and short). 

What to see on this scenic byway:

Besides the waterfalls, this road is also close to one of the best hot springs in Oregon (Umpqua Hot Springs).

9) Road 214 (Silver Falls Drive):

silver falls scenic drives in oregon


There is an amazing park in Oregon known as Silver Falls State Park and the road that takes you to it is 214. The drive itself isn’t long but it does zig zag a lot and there are many farms throughout the road but as you get closer to the park, the scenery of the drive gets more wooded and you will see way more of the classic Oregon forest scenery. 

What to see on this scenic byway:

  • My top recommendation is going to be the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park.
  • I also highly recommend taking a 30 minute drive after to Abiqua Falls (it is not inside Silver Falls State Park).

10) Road 26 (Mt. Hood Highway):

mount hood highway scenic drives in oregon


Earlier I mentioned road 35 which goes through the eastern side of Mount Hood. Well there’s a western road (26) known as Mt. Hood Highway which goes through the western end and it is probably just as scenic if not more so than road 35 but it has it’s own unique overlooks, tons more trail stops and hikes to do. It also offers access to Mount Hood Village which is west of the mountain where you can stop at as well.

What to see on this scenic byway:

  • Little Zig Zag falls.
  • Rockwood Viewpoint.
  • Mount Hood itself.
  • Mount Hood Village.
  • It connects with Road 35 so you can continue through to there.

More questions about Oregon scenic drives:

What is the most scenic route on the Oregon Coast?

Road 101 is considered the most scenic route to take to explore the Oregon Coast. It’s 100’s of miles long and goes through the entire coastal side of the state.

Is there a scenic drive in Oregon Gorge?

Yes, it’s called the Historic Columbia River Highway and it goes through the Columbia River Gorge section of Oregon.

Related (more scenic drives in Oregon plus neighboring states):

1) More Oregon scenic drives:

There’s at least 1 page here that provides info on more scenic drives there.

2) There are at least 2 scenic drive recommendations for California:

  1. First there are amazing scenic drives in southern California.
  2. Then there’s equally but totally different looking scenic drives in Northern California I recommend.

3) In Washington, there are a few options:

You have the 101 road that continues through western Washington and I highly recommend that because it takes you through the best places to visit on the Washington Coast and that includes Lake Crescent, Port Angeles, and much more.

4) More scenic drives across the US and north America overall:

I’ve a list of stunning scenic drives in North America that I recommend you check out and there’s even some from Oregon, but it’s much more mixed across many different states and in places like Canada too.

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