Oregon, with its vast tapestry of landscapes, is a driver’s dream. The Beaver State truly excels in offering scenic drives that are as varied as they are breathtaking. From dense forests to arid deserts and dramatic coastlines, each road trip through Oregon is a visual feast, making the journey just as thrilling as the destination.

If you’re ready to explore Oregon with the freedom only a set of wheels can provide, here are some of the most picturesque drives in the state that you should add to your bucket list:

The Most Scenic Drives in Oregon

Journey Through Time Scenic BywayPainted Hills

This aptly named route offers a historical odyssey spanning 286 miles, starting from the Columbia River in Biggs. As you traverse this route, you’ll pass through river canyons and venture deep into the heart of Oregon’s paleontological past at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The drive weaves through landscapes that tell tales of 54 million years of evolution, with stops at breathtaking sites like the Painted Hills, where the terrain glows with unearthly reds and ochres. Along the way, explore ghost towns, old mines, and preserved sites that echo Oregon’s rich history.

Pacific Coast Scenic BywayPacific Northwest Coast in Oregon, USA with waves crashing on beach.

Covering 363 miles along Highway 101, this drive hugs the Oregon coastline, offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean against a backdrop of rugged cliffs, lush valleys, and vibrant sand dunes. Frequent stops are a must, with numerous vistas, tide pools, quaint fishing villages, and natural reserves dotting the route. This drive is perfect for those who prefer to take their time, with plenty of opportunities for photography, seaside picnics, and just soaking in the immense beauty of Oregon’s coastal edge.

Scenic Oregon Coast Road Trip

Trees to Sea Scenic BywaySurfsand Resort in Cannon Beach

Blending forested paths with ocean views, this 68-mile drive links the verdant Tualatin Valley to the wild Oregon coast. Although the journey can be completed in a few hours, taking a few days to fully immerse yourself in the natural splendor is ideal. Highlights include wine tasting in Tualatin Valley, hiking through Tillamook State Forest, visiting local farms in Tillamook, and wildlife watching at Cape Meares State Park. This route epitomizes Oregon’s ecological diversity and is a must for nature lovers.

Outback Scenic BywayBend, Oregon

For those intrigued by the stark beauty of deserts, the 171-mile Outback Scenic Byway offers a stark contrast to Oregon’s more lush landscapes. Starting near La Pine and ending near Lakeview, the drive transitions from the green expanses of the Deschutes National Forest to the high desert plains of the California border. Notable landmarks along the way include Fort Rock’s majestic rock formations, wildlife-rich alkaline lakes, and ancient caves that hold some of North America’s earliest human history.

Volcanic Legacy Scenic BywayCrater Lake

This 140-mile loop is a journey through Oregon’s fiery past, showcasing the state’s rich volcanic heritage. The route offers mesmerizing views of alpine lakes and snow-capped mountains sculpted by millennia of eruptions. The highlight is the famous 33-mile loop around Crater Lake, offering spectacular vantage points of Oregon’s deepest lake, itself a caldera formed by a collapsed volcano. This drive not only connects you with nature but also with the powerful forces that shaped these landscapes.

The Ultimate Southern Oregon Road Trip – 9 Day Itinerary

Conclusion

Oregon’s scenic drives are a testament to the state’s vast and varied beauty. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these routes offer a deeper connection with the natural world and a fresh perspective on the diverse environments that make Oregon unique. Each drive promises unforgettable views and the chance to discover the hidden corners of this picturesque state.

If you’ve traveled these roads or have other favorites, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Oregon is full of roads less traveled, and each one has its own story to tell. What’s your favorite scenic drive in Oregon?

Read Next:

26 Best Attractions in Oregon

14 Best Places to Go Camping on Oregon Beaches

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