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. Brownsville Historical Marker

    Long before the first pioneer settlers arrived here in the 1840s, the Brownsville area was occupied by the ancient Mound Builders and then the Kalapuya Indians.  The relative ease of finding food in the valley made the Kalapuya vulnerable to intruders, including other tribes, because they…

    Location: Main Street, Brownsville, OR 97327
  2. Faraday Hydroelectric Project

    The Faraday Hydroelectric Project  was “green” when green was only considered a color. It has been a clean source of power for the Portland area for more than 100 years.  The engineering of the dam project is as fascinating as that stretch of the Clackamas…

    Location: Estacada, OR 97023
  3. Osprey Observation Point – Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

    An artificial lake made in 1929 for irrigation purposes, Crane Prairie Reservoir is outstanding for fishing and an important breeding ground for the osprey (fish hawk). Osprey were identified as a potentially endangered species in 1969. Osprey are active at Crane Prairie and surrounding lakes…

    Location: Craine Prairie, 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