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. Historic Balch Hotel

    The Balch Hotel, listed on the National Historic Register, is close to Oregon’s most contrasting geography. In 45 minutes you can drive from lush greenery and forest to rolling wheat farmland. It’s a beautifully restored 100-year-old hotel (it still has century-old wiggly glass), devoid of…

    Location: 40 South Heimrich, Dufur, OR 97021
  2. Columbia River Gorge Tours

    The Columbia River Gorge lies between two national forests, a volcanic mountain range, a dense forest and high desert, making it a perfect springboard for tours of this recreational “playground.” The National Scenic Area is uniquely protected to ensure the preservation of its natural beauty and its…

    Location: PO Box 101, Cascade Locks, OR 97014
  3. Mt. Adams

    Least visited of the major Central Cascade Peaks, Mt. Adams is considered the “forgotten giant.” Wildlife, wide areas, and quiet are equally abundant. The steep, 1.4-mile climb to “Sleeping Beauty” rewards with expansive views from an old fire lookout. Visit and learn about the local…

    Location: Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Trout Lake, WA 98650
Browse all locations:

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