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. Union Street Raiload Bridge

    Built in 1913, this lift-span railroad bridge was used for local passenger service, logging and cannery freight over the Willamette River, one of the 14 designated historic rivers of America. Use declined after the 1960s. In 2004, the bridge was purchased by the City of…

    Location: Union Street at Willamette River, Salem , OR 97301
  2. Salt Creek Falls

    Salt Creek Falls is the second-highest waterfall in Oregon at 286 feet high. The trail to the falls is easy to follow and the photographic opportunities are fantastic. There are unique native plants that are worth the time to study. In spring, native flowers are in…

    Location: 5 Miles West of Willamette Pass Ski Resort on Hwy 58, Crescent Lake, OR 97425
  3. Tire Mountain Trail

    The Tire Mountain Trail is an example of a wild area accessible by foot or mountain bike. It is maintained by Forest Service personnel as well as by mountain bikers such as the Oakridge/Westfir trails group and Disciples of Dirt mountain bike club from Eugene.  The trail is accessed…

    Location: North of Westfir, 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