Oregon is a great state for auto lovers and drivers. We have great weather for much of the year, relatively traffic-free highways, and some of the most beautiful roadside backdrops you’ll ever experience. From our salt-free winter roads to possibly the friendliest DMVs in the country, there’s a lot to love about Oregon driving. Here are three of our favorite road trips to take in the Beaver State!
- The Columbia Gorge
The I-84 east of Portland is one of the most beautiful stretches of highways we’ve even driven, period. From the natural beauty of the Columbia river itself to the majesty of the gorge it carved over the eons, there’s something for everyone driving along the Columbia Gorge. The 84 hugs the river all the way from Portland to Boardman, at which point the 730 starts to follow the river. We recommend you wind your way into Southeast Washington for full effect – the Columbia meets the Snake river near the Tri-Cities area for some truly stunning vistas.
- McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass
What happens when 3 of a state’s 5 tallest mountains are lineup up in a row? Some incredible mountain driving, that’s what! The McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass loop provides stunning vistas, aided by the presence of the Three Sisters, 3 mountains that are each over 10,000 feet in altitude. Whether you love winding roads, volcanic cinder cones (Black Butte is beautiful!) or are simply a driving enthusiast looking for an excuse to visit Sisters, one of Oregon’s most charming towns, we can’t recommend this drive highly enough!
- Gold Beach to Brookings
There’s a lot to love about the 101 – we’ve driven the whole thing! But for all the majesty that surrounds the West Coast’s signature highway, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more gorgeous seaside stretch than the half-hour drive from Gold Beach to Brookings. This patch of ocean road is so full of things to see and do that you can easily turn a half-hour jaunt into a full-on day trip!
Those are just three of our favorite Oregon drives; if you know of a better one, please drop us a line! We could always use an excuse for a good road trip.