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. Homeland of the Cow Creeks Historic Marker

    This portion of the southwest Oregon is the homeland of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians.  They thrived here for thousands of years before contact with Euro-Americans.  Living in plank-house villages, they followed a seasonal round of resource use.  Moving from summer camas meadows and…

    Location: Cow Creek Rest Area, Gelndale, OR 97442
  2. Comet Falls

    Hailed as one of the most popular and dazzling hikes in the Mount Rainier National Park, Comet Falls is a natural wonder the whole family can enjoy. After only a couple of switchbacks, visitors will find scenic lookouts, flowering natural landmarks in the spring, and…

    Location: Ashford, WA 98304
  3. Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway

    Fifteen miles of scenic river perfect for fly-fishing, river rafting, or viewing 2,000-foot canyon walls that house nesting hawks, eagles, and falcons. Located just beyond the eastern border of the Central Cascades region, the basalt cliffs gently rise up to 2000 feet and are layered…

    Location: Ellensburg / Yakima, WA
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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