St. Helens Wildflowers by Kevin Ebi, courtesy of Washington State Tourism / Photo by Kevin Ebi, courtesy of Washington State Tourism

Epic and Approachable, the Central Cascades Capture the Splendor and Spirit of the Pacific Northwest

If there’s one quality that unites the citizenry of the Central Cascades, it’s an intimate connection to the land. Farmers and ranchers rely on its soil to nurture their crops and livestock; urbanites relocate here to fish its pristine waters and hike and bike its majestic forests. It’s no wonder, then, that Central Cascades residents have been trailblazers in land conservation and sustainable tourism.

Hundreds of Oregon and Washington residents recommended their favorite sustainable tourism spots to help create the Central Cascades Geotourism MapGuide. In the course of reviewing recommendations, several resonant themes about the region emerged – themes ranging from cultural and geological history to recreation and natural bounty. We asked a handful of Central Cascades’ citizens to speak to these defining themes, and have included their ruminations here. Their ruminations will help you gain a greater familiarity with the heart and soul of this geographically diverse and dramatically beautiful region.

Examples of Geotourism locations

  1. Mount Rainier National Park

    Mount Rainier is a regional icon a major destination in the Central Cascades area.  Mount Rainier National Park offers excellent opportunities for scenic drives, hiking, and mountain climbing. Mountain roads provide stunning views and access to a variety of hiking trails and other sites.  Because…

  2. Deschutes Paddle Trail

    Whether you want to sea-kayak the beautiful High Cascade Lakes with sweeping mountain views, paddle a gentle section of the Lower Deschutes River among the otters, beavers and eagles, or whitewater-raft an exciting stretch of river just minutes from Downtown Bend, the Deschutes Paddle Trail…

    Location: Bend, OR
  3. Pacific Crest Trail

    How better to see the Central Cascades than to hike through them?  The Central Cascades offer a unique experience because of the nature of how the Cascades were formed: volcanic activity.  New peaks come into view on the northern horizon and act as “sign posts” to…

  4. Cascade Huts

    Cascade Huts is a partner with the U.S. Forest Service and provides 3 scenically located huts to accommodate bikers in a 3-night, 4-day loop around Mt Hood.  Beginning in the gastronomic paradise of Hood River, located on the Columbia Gorge, riders enjoy spectacular views of…

National Geographic