Oregon may not be as highly regarded as New England as a leaf-peeper’s paradise in the fall, but its color can be no less stunning, and its mild climate and natural variety — from Youngberg Hill Inn & Winery, Oregon scenic drives can take deep in the mountains about as quickly as you can pass through rolling wine country en route to the stark but scintillating Pacific Ocean beaches of the Oregon coast. And that’s not even counting the breathtaking high desert vistas and panorama east of the Cascade Mountains.
Youngberg Hill, in the heart of Western Oregon farm country, is the perfect place to begin and end these Oregon scenic drives in luxury and comfort. Book a room today.
Ten Oregon Scenic Drives for Fall Adventure
- The Historic Columbia River Highway. From McMinnville, home of Youngberg Hill, your Oregon scenic drives experience can begin with a hop to Oregon’s northwest point, the seaside town of Astoria, and from there hit the highway west, through Portland, to The Dalles, where the last of the Cascade foothills give way to the high desert of the eastern half of the state — with the mighty Columbia River pacing your journey every mile of the way. Particularly worthwhile stops include Multnomah Falls, east of Portland, where a short walk takes you to — and under – a dazzling 620-foot waterfall; and the tourist-friendly town of Hood River, where you can watch windsurfers brave the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge, sip wine or enjoy a fine meal.
- If ocean views are your thing, it’s hard to beat a drive along part of all of the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, which encompasses the state-length stretch of U.S. Highway 101. There’s no shortage of stunning beaches and friendly little town to stop and shop in, but particularly recommended are stops at Cannon Beach’s iconic Haystack Rock; and Oregon Dunes, which offers scintillating seafront sandscapes as well as a world-class golf course.
- Ready to peep at some leaves? Try the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway, an 82-mile loop route through the Cascade Range. You’ll catch awe-inspiring fall color along virtually every mile, but for particularly swoon-worthy views, stop at the Dee Wright Observatory for a wide-screen view of the Three Sisters mountains.
- One of the best ways to take in Western Oregon’s lakes, rivers, and forests is to tackle part of all of the 215-miles West Cascades Scenic Byway, which starts southeast of Portland and ends a bit southeast of Eugene. Travel Oregon calls it a “paradise of green with water at every turn.”
- Another great Oregon scenic drive into the mountains is the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, which is a short — 66 miles — but stunning way to see Mount Bachelor as well as the many picturesque high-mountain lakes that precede and follow it into Bend and beyond.
- Yet another scenic Oregon mountain route is the Mount Hood Scenic Byway, which starts not too far from McMinnville in Troutdale, east of Portland near Multnomah Falls, and loops southeast to Mount Hood, Oregon’s highest point, to Hood River.
- The Eastern Cascades equivalent of the West Cascade byway is the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway, which runs southeast 165 miles to the verge of the California border. Here, lush forests yield to high desert dominated by juniper, bunchgrass, and sagebrush. Best taken as a two-day trip.
- The Umpqua River Scenic Byway, running 66 miles from Sutherlin, south of Eugene, to the Oregon coast, is a great way to take in Western Oregon’s comparatively level rural scenery. If you’re coming from Youngberg Hill, you might want to start your journey on Highway 38 outside of Eugene, off Interstate 5, and pick up the byway a short way west in the town of Elkton.
- If you love Oregon scenic drives, how can you resist a route called the Over the Rivers & Through the Woods Scenic Byway? This east-west route is just 60 miles, but there are so many great places to stop (including a covered wooden bridge) that you’ll find it easy to pass a day once to pick up the route not far from Youngberg Hill in the town of Brownsville.
- An absolute can’t-miss among Oregon’s scenic drives is a trip to Crater Lake Scenic Park. There’s simply nothing else like it in America — a panoramic view of a giant round lake surrounded by 2,000-foot-high cliffs with an island in the center and the bluest water you may even set your eyes upon. All made more dazzling in the sharp, clear air of autumn.
Where to Begin and End Your Oregon Scenic Drives
Youngberg Hill Inn & Winery, with its well-regarded food and wines, acres of forests and fields, and guest rooms with awe-inspiring views, is a natural choice for launching your Oregon scenic drives — and a top-rated vacation destination in its own right. Book your room today at our Willamette Valley bed-and-breakfast.