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The Ultimate Oregon Road Trip (Guide)

Oregon’s immaculate assortment of historic highways and winding back roads make it ideal for a classic road trip — all you need is a road trip vehicle, and you're ready to go!

From the windy, cliffside roads of the coast, to the numerous highways carved into the orange canyons of Eastern Oregon, there are many immaculate road trips available, but which one is right for you?

Highway 101

Highway 101 is the pinnacle of West Coast road trips.

From Astoria to Brookings, the 101 offers a gentle meandering along the coast from the border of Washington to Northern California.

Because of this, Highway 101 runs through all of the acclaimed coastal towns, like Cannon Beach and Lincoln City.

If hiking and camping are on your travel itinerary, the 101 boasts an array of hiking trails and campsites throughout the entirety of the trip. In just 360-miles, Highway 101 will impress even the most seasoned adventurers, so be sure to put it on your bucket list.

Central to Eastern Oregon

Although Oregon is renowned for its moody, temperate climate, Central and Eastern Oregon possesses a vastly different environment than the Pacific Northwest.

With red rock arches, tumbleweeds, and the occasional ghost town, it served well as a shooting location for Paint Your Wagon (1969), a setting that harkens back to the Western fantasies of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne.

Of the many spectacles in Central and Eastern Oregon, the Painted Hills shimmers brighter than most with colorful layers of sentiment, compiled over millions of years, resembling a Van Gogh depiction of sunbathing hills more than your standard rolling hills.

Should you decide to road trip through Central and Eastern Oregon, perusing the depth of Hells Canyon or camping in the expanse of the Alvord Desert along the way, the Painted Hills would serve as a suitable cherry on top.

Blue Mountain Scenic Byway

It is rare to stumble upon a 150-mile road as immaculate as the Blue Mountain scenic byway.

Just off Interstate 84 in northeastern Oregon, this byway takes you through the jagged cliffs of the Blue Mountains, which tower over vibrant ranching land, winding rivers, and old mining towns.

Perfect for those who crave a historic excursion through some of Oregon’s most famed wilderness, the Blue Mountains even posed an infamous threat to travelers of the Oregon Trail, centuries ago.

If you are a connoisseur of gold rush-era history, then the Blue Mountain scenic byway is for you, providing an immersive adventure into Oregon’s rich history.

Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway

Departing from Intersection 5 outside of Grants Pass, the Rogue-Umpqua scenic byway runs deep into the glorious woodland of the Rogue-Umpqua state forests.

For 175-miles, this route is perfect for those wanting to experience the authentic Oregon experience, with winding rivers, thick green forests, and plenty of space to spend the night under a monstrous pine or Douglas fir.

Along the way, you can slightly depart from the scenic byway to make a stop at Crater Lake before entering the Rogue National Forest and ultimately concluding your trip in the historic mining town of Gold Hill.

If you like camping, hiking, and fishing, then you’ll find these activities in surplus along the Rogue-Umpqua scenic byway, enhancing this magical route even more.

Final Thoughts: Oregon Road Trip

There are plenty of scenic byways and historic roads in Oregon, all providing a fresh experience within the Beaver State.

Should you seek the ethereal woodland of Southern Oregon, or the desolate ranching country of the northeast, any road trip in Oregon will quench your explorative thirst –– but these are some routes that deserve special consideration.

Looking for more Oregon adventures? Check out our guides to hiking Oregon, camping Oregon, and surfing in Oregon, including Newport & Cannon Beach.


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