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. Mount St. Helens Visitor Center

    Built in the architectural mode known as Cascade style, the Silver Lake visitor center won a design award from President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Its large windows and sweeping, upward lines contribute to the feeling of magnificence surrounding the mountain. Inside, visitors may enjoy a variety…

    Location: 3029 Spirit Lake Hwy, Silver Lake, WA 98611
  2. Elkton Community Education Center

    Elkton Community Education Center (ECEC) captures the essence of rural Oregon’s beauty, culture and history at its site along the Umpqua River Scenic Byway.  The high school student staff offers tours of the butterfly pavilion, the 4.5-acre Native Oregon Botanical Garden with thematic outdoor sculptures,…

    Location: 15850 State Hwy 38, Elkton, OR 97436
  3. Maryhill Museum of Art

    Come explore Maryhill Museum’s world-class collection of art ranging from early 20th century European works to an extensive Native American collection. Set in a castle-like chateau on a stunning 6,000-acre site overlooking the scenic Columbia River Gorge, Maryhill Museum is one of the Pacific Northwest’s…

    Location: 35 Maryhill Drive, WA 98620
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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