It’s the pathway to the Pacific Ocean, where our eyes feast on majestic mountains draped by deep blue skies and cottony clouds. It’s where we breathe in evergreen-scented air and find ourselves dwarfed by towering forests, rich with luscious ferns and trailing moss. It’s where abundant waters flow in streams, rivers and cascading falls. It’s the Pacific Northwest.
With all the highways and byways to choose from, I’ve been inspired to travel many of them over, and over again — along a different route each time, to experience a new and marvelous vista. A GPS is helpful, but with my road atlas in hand I delight in perusing the less obvious rambling roads to trace a new path, where I may anticipate the sight of a rainbow tinted waterfall or an inviting hiking trail.
Enjoy the drive through the lush, green Willamette National Forest on Highway 126 about 45 minutes southwest of Sisters, Oregon. Stop and take easy hike to the beautiful Sahalie Falls on the McKenzie River is found on the Clear Lake Cut-off section off of Highway 126.
About an hour’s drive west on Highway 20 to Linn County, Oregon between Cascadia and Sweet Home, you will find yourself traveling through the shady Willamette Valley along the South Santiam River.
Just outside of Sweet Home, Oregon, you will come upon the deep blue waters of Foster Lake and the reservoir off of Foster Dam. Here, you will see family friendly beaches for swimming and kayaking or a pretty spot for a picnic. Boating and fishing are very popular in this area, which offers a variety of salmon, steelhead and trout fishing.
The more adventurous travellers can head back eastward up along Quartsville Road to Green Peter Lake and Reservoir, where they are sure to be amazed by the stunning green water and untouched scenery.
Traveling northeast into Idaho, you will find more hidden gems such as the resort town of McCall, which is nuzzled near the center of the Payette National Forest. It’s worth the venture, as there are numerous sights and activities to enjoy in McCall.
A stunning October sunset surrounds the town of McCall as seen near Payette Lake.