10 Stops you must see on your Central Oregon Road-Trip

When you’re planning your Oregon road-trip this year, don’t forget to add these stops from Central Oregon! We road-tripped from Vancouver to Oregon and focused on the Central Oregon route in January and found some of the best road-trip spots that you need to add to your itinerary! If you’re looking for more road-trip itineraries in Oregon, stay tuned for our Oregon Coast road-trip!

The best part of this road-trip was that most of these stops were very simple off of the highway. It did not require going off-track or far away from our route, and most of these stops are steps away from the parking lot. This means that they’ll be perfect to stop for a snack or a break on your road-trip while taking in epic views! Keep reading for our 10 best stops to add to your Oregon road-trip!

10 Best Stops to add to your Central Oregon Road-Trip

  • Multonomah Falls
  • Latourell Falls
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Silver Falls State Park
  • McKenzie River
  • Sahalie and Koosah Falls
  • Sisters, Oregon
  • Bend, Oregon
  • Smith Rock State Park
  • Steelhead Falls

Multonomah Falls

Multonomah Falls makes it to the top of our list because it’s easily one of most beautiful and tallest waterfalls in Oregon! Multonomah Falls is a quick stop from the highway with less than 5 minutes of walking from the parking lot. It’s extremely easy to see this waterfall in its full glory and you’ll likely find a lot of other people at this location. Parking is available across the highway from Multonomah Falls.

Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls is probably our favourite waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge! This waterfall is 5 minutes away from Multonomah Falls, which makes it easy to visit both on your road-trip. Latourell Falls is another quick walk from the parking lot and you’ll see this massive waterfall within minutes. You can walk very close to this waterfall, and be careful because the rocks are slippery and you will likely get wet!

Columbia River Gorge

Now that I’ve mentioned our 2 favourite waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, I’d like to include the entire area as a must-stop on your Oregon road-trip. While the Columbia River Gorge is outside of Central Oregon, you’ll want to pass through this area for some really great waterfalls. Some other options include Bridal Veil Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Wahclella Falls, and Horsetail Falls.

Silver Falls State Park

Another option for your road-trip that is just outside of Central Oregon is Silver Falls State Park. We camped here our first night of our road-trip through Oregon and the campgrounds were really great. One of the best things to do in this park is hike the 10 Falls trail which will take you past 10 waterfalls. If you’re like us and don’t have time to complete them all, South Falls is amazing and the first waterfall you see on the hike.

McKenzie River

McKenzie River is a really beautiful spot and area to stop on your road-trip! There are plenty of hikes and sights to see on this stop, and all of them feature the beautiful bright blue water of McKenzie River. This river is known for its fishing, white water rafting, and and waterfall hikes. Make sure to check out the Tamolitch Blue Pools while you’re here!

Sahalie and Koosah Falls

The best waterfalls on the McKenzie River are Sahalie and Koosah Falls. This is a must on your Oregon road-trip and might have been our favourite waterfalls of the whole trip. The trail will take you past both waterfalls in a relatively short time, with Koosah Falls being less than 5 minutes from the parking lot and Sahalie a little bit further down the trail.

Sisters, Oregon

Sisters is a small town in Central Oregon that we found was really charming and cute for a pit-stop! We enjoyed walking around the small town on our way to Bend and there were plenty of small shops to browse! Make sure to grab ice cream at Sno Cap Ice Cream while you’re in Sisters.

Bend, Oregon

Bend is absolutely the adventure city of Oregon! We absolutely loved staying in Bend on our road-trip to Oregon and even wrote a blog on How to Spend 3-days in Bend in the Winter. This town is expanding quickly, and the people that live there love to spend their time outdoors. From hiking, to mountain biking, to world class skiing, Bend truly has it all. Make sure to hike Pilot Butte at sunset and check out Tumalo Falls.

Smith Rock State Park

Located 35 minutes outside of Bend is Smith Rock State Park. You’ll notice that the landscape starts to look different as you drive out of Bend and into the high desert of Oregon. Smith Rock State Park is an incredible park for hiking, climbing, and day-trips. One of the best things to do in this park is hike Misery Ridge trail. This park is known for its incredible rocks jutting out of the ground and is a really great site to see.

Crater Lake

Crater Lake is Oregon’s only national park, and one of the deepest lakes in the world! This would be an incredible stop on your road-trip as it features one of the most beautiful drives in America, plenty of day hikes and incredible mountain views. We did not make it to Crater Lake yet, but we will definitely visit soon.

More Stops to add to your road-trip

This list was compiled from our first road-trip to Oregon, so I’ve included some extra stops that we were not able to visit this time. We will definitely be planning another road-trip soon to check out these awesome spots in the summer! Some of these locations listed in our additional stops are some of the best views in Central Oregon, so make sure to do your research before exploring these locations and get ready to be impressed!

  • Steelhead Falls
  • Mount Hood
  • Umpqua Hot Springs
  • Cougar Hot Springs
  • Cascade Lakes

Pro Tips for Road-tripping Oregon

Some pro tips we’d like to share are to plan your road-trip ahead of time and download your maps if you’re coming from Canada like we did. If you want to enjoy these stops to yourself, try to visit early in the morning or on a rainy day. We enjoyed all of the waterfalls on rainy days and there were far less people and more parking available. We saw Smith Rock State Park for sunrise and enjoyed the entire park to ourselves.

Final Thoughts on Road-tripping Central Oregon

The road-trip to Central Oregon was one of our best adventures of the year and it was a great way to kick off our 2023 road-trips. We found so many incredible stops along the way and can’t wait to be back to Oregon to explore more of the interior.

If you’re looking for more Oregon road-trip ideas, check out our blog on the 15 Best easy stops on your Oregon Coast Road-trip, and our Ultimate 8-day Washington & Oregon Road-trip Itinerary!

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