PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Hardy, coniferous trees are an icon of Central Oregon, but the region gets its fair share of fall color — just like western parts of the state. 

In fact, the “dazzling” red vine maple trees found along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway recently earned the stretch of roadway recognition on CNN’s list of “7 scenic drives across the United States for your fall foliage fix.”

Allison Keeney from Travel Oregon told CNN that the red color of the trees against the black lava rocks in the area makes it even more pronounced. 

She said the route is not only known for its scenery, but also for the adventures to be had along the way. 

The byway spans from southeast of Bend to where it meets Highway 58 near Crescent Lake. It’s 66 miles long and passes Mt. Bachelor and scenic lakes like Crane Prairie Reservoir, Wickiup Reservoir, Sparks Lake and Elk Lake. 

Along the byway are several hiking options, including the Green Lakes Trail, the trail to South Sister and the Obsidian Trail. 

Keeney told CNN the colors are most vivid in the area around mid-October, but they might peak earlier in 2022 because of the hot, dry summer. 

The other drives CNN noted for their fantastic fall foliage include: 

  • Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia and North Carolina 
  • Peak to Peak Scenic Byway: Colorado 
  • Covered Bridges Scenic Byway: Iowa 
  • Natchez Trace Parkway: Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee 
  • Hocking Hills Scenic Byway: Ohio 
  • Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway: Maine