Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway

image Deschutes National Forest

The byway is a 66 mile scenic drive on Highway 46 from Crescent to Bend, Oregon.

image National Forest pamphlet 

Our original plans included taking this route from Diamond Lake to our next stop, River Rim RV Park at Crooked River Ranch just outside of Terrebonne, Oregon. Unfortunately our tire episode changed these plans. See my post, An Expensive Day.

So we backtrack today to see what we missed.

According to the National Park pamphlet, “…the byway follows a journey of water through a volcanic landscape accented by 14 alpine lakes.”

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Scenic views of Mount Bachelor, South Sister, and Broken Top “peak” out overhead.

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It’s a busy Saturday mid-morning and afternoon on the byway. We opt out of driving down to most of the crowded recreation areas and gravel roads leading to trailheads and interpretive sites. Instead we focus on what we can see from the road or viewing pull-offs.

Devils Lake is a shallow and peaceful glacial lake, with a maximum depth of 9 feet. (roadside plaque)

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Picnicking and paddle boarding is popular here.

Below is a view of Elk Lake with Mount Bachelor in the background.

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We stop by the Upper Deschutes River streaming across both sides of the highway turn off. The dogs enjoy a cool drink and dipping their paws in the shallow river. A few fishermen cast their lines along the banks.

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Baby fir trees sprout in the parking lot.

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Cultus Lake is worth the 2 mile drive off Highway 46 to view. Jeff and Casey wade into the lake which, like Devils Lake, is not very deep.

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As the pictures verify, the white sandy beaches and towering pines make this spot a favorite family recreation venue.

We exit the scenic byway route at Highway 42 and return to Highway 97 just south of Sunriver.

image National Forest pamphlet

Along this highway we notice an abundance of fire-retardant redwood trees among charred pine tree remnants.

As I take this photo I notice a misshapen redwood trunk with a gnarly bulge. I make Jeff stop the car, open his window and get a better close up view. Evergreen trees exposed to extreme temperatures get bent out of shape. 😂😜🤓

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