Mt. Hood Summit / Photo by Peter Marbach

Enjoy Insights into the Rich Culture and Natural Wonders of the Central Cascades…From the People Who Live Here

The sheer beauty and grandeur of the Central Cascades of Oregon and Washington will make any visitor give pause. But the many stories resting in the region’s foothills, high desert and mountain communities will inspire you to linger and explore. The National Geographic Society has collaborated with community members of the Central Cascades to illuminate the places and experiences that residents think are special. Some of the special qualities that define the Central Cascades are explored below.

Explore the Central Cascades

Just the start of what you’ll find in the Central Cascades

  1. Crystal Mountain Summit House

    Hop on the Rainier Express chairlift or take a challenging hike, to Washington State’s highest restaurant (6,872 feet) where you can have your butternut squash ravioli with a complimentary view of the gorgeous Cascades. On a clear day, you can see many of the area’s…

    Location: 33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd., Crystal Mountain, WA 98022
  2. Proxy Falls

    At Proxy Falls, you can see three different types of terrain in one hike. The trail meanders through old volcanic flow, chaparral and, at lower elevations, temperate rain forest. The trail is blocked in a few places by fallen trees/logs that are circumnavigated by impromptu…

  3. Santiam Wagon Road

    The Santiam Wagon Road was the first wagon road to cross the Cascades south of the Barlow Road. It opened to traffic as a toll road in 1865 and served as the primary connection between the mid-Willamette Valley and Central Oregon until Highway 20 was…

    Location: 3225 Highway 20, Sweet Home, Oregon 97386
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The National Geographic Central Cascades Geotourism MapGuide

The National Geographic Society has partnered with Travel Oregon and Washington State Tourism to capture the history and heritage of the Central Cascades Region. The results are captured here — and in a colorful, informative print map.

Get your Central Cascades Geotourism MapGuide

What is Geotourism?

Geotourism is tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place – its environment, heritage and the well-being of its residents.

Central Cascade Themes

If you’re new the region, here are seven themes that will help you get to know the Central Cascades of Oregon and Washington.

Sustainable Travel

Sustainability is an important aspect to the concept of Geotourism. Learn how you can get the most out of your travels and leave it beautiful for others to enjoy.

National Geographic