Santiam Wagon Road

The Santiam Wagon Road was the first wagon road to cross the Cascades south of the Barlow Road. It opened to traffic as a toll road in 1865 and served as the primary connection between the mid-Willamette Valley and Central Oregon until Highway 20 was completed in 1939. It presently is a trail 33 miles long from the Mountain House on the west to Cache Creek Toll Station (site) on the east. It is unique for the fact that it is almost 100% on National Forest land and can be managed as one unit. It is presently being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places by the Forest Service. Visitors can hike or ride horseback to experience the rigors of early travelers and can see remnants of pristine wagon road. In certain places travel by wagon or pre-1940 vehicle is possible. Their are specific points along the wagon road that can be accessed by conventional automobile.

Conjunctive use of this wagon road by non-motorized means will help preserve the old road into the future. It will help weld the segments of the road that are now under management by three different ranger districts in two National Forests into one coordinated historic unit. Visitors can see/experience the historic values of the road while also having a recreational experience in a very scenic and changing natural environment. A hike/ride on the Santiam Wagon Road is a dramatic  example of experiential education.

  • ADA accessible
  • Some guided tours available (fee required)
  • Visitor center

Get more information on this area from

National Geographic