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. Beacon Rock

    Beacon Rock is an easy, historic, and scenic hiking trail along the Columbia River Gorge located in the 4,650-acre Beacon Rock State Park . Climb the switchback trail to the top of this 848-foot-tall monolith for jaw-dropping views of the Columbia Gorge far below. Beacon Rock…

    Location: Beacon Rock State Park
  2. Molalla River Recreation Corridor

    Off the beaten path but only an hour from Portland, the Molalla River Recreation Corridor is an authentic example of a wild Cascadian river, never dammed or diverted. The river rises in Oregon’s Table Rock Wilderness and cascades through spectacular basalt and lava outcrops en…

    Location: Clackamas County, Molalla, OR 97038
  3. Oregon Wine Tasting Room

    At the Oregon Wine Tasting Room, you can taste and buy from all Oregon appellations. It is the oldest wine-tasting room in Oregon and has the most extensive selection of Oregon wines under one roof.

    Location: 19690 SW Highway 18, McMinnville, OR 97411
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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