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. Ape Cave — Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

    Over 2,000 years ago, lava poured down the southern flank of Mt. St. Helens.  As the hot lava flowed, the surface cooled, creating a crust, which insulated the lava beneath, allowing it to travel down the Lewis River Valley. The lava in the tube rose…

    Location: Forest Road 8303, 3 miles north Forest Roads 83/90 junction., Cougar, WA 98616
  2. Columbia River Gorge Tours

    The Columbia River Gorge lies between two national forests, a volcanic mountain range, a dense forest and high desert, making it a perfect springboard for tours of this recreational “playground.” The National Scenic Area is uniquely protected to ensure the preservation of its natural beauty and its…

    Location: PO Box 101, Cascade Locks, OR 97014
  3. Down the River Cleanup, Clackamas River

    The Down the River Cleanup is one of the largest volunteer river cleanups in the Northwest. It brings together the human-powered sports community (rafting, kayaking, fishing, tubing, canoing, sea kayaking, etc.) for a single day of river stewardship. It is a volunteer day on the river…

    Location: Barton Park Rd, Barton, OR
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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