Oregon’s Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway offers some of the best views of the smoky blue peaks and volcanic formations in the Cascade Range. The still-active Newberry Volcano lies at the southern end of the byway. Further up the road is the Lava Cast Forest, which is filled with molds of pine trees that were suddenly incinerated in a lava flow about 7,000 years ago. At Seventh Mountain Resort, which is situated at the roadway's eastern end, you can sit on private patios overlooking groves of douglas firs and ponderosa pines.
The forest is more than a scenic backdrop—its rocky ridges and waterscapes form a playground for adventures year-round. In spring and summer, you can bike through Bend, named America's Top Mountain Biking Town by Mountain Bike Action magazine. Fishers wade through the Deschutes River for trout and steelhead, and there are several area golf courses with gorgeous mountain backdrops. After a full day on the mountain, soak in one of the resort's two heated outdoor pools or three hot tubs.
There’s a kitchen in each one-bedroom condo, so it’s easy to whip up dinner at home. Or you can drop by one of the resort's two restaurants: Seasons Restaurant serves country omelets and other hearty breakfast dishes to start the day, while the intimate Rimrock Bar serves unique dinner entrees, such as pan-seared rockfish served with bacon and quinoa.
Bend, Oregon: Outdoor Adventure in the Cascade Range
Although the Pacific Northwest is associated with gray skies, Bend is blessed with about 300 days of sunshine per year, making it ideal for outdoor recreation year-round. Each spring when the snow melts on Mount Bachelor, mountain bikers and hikers take to the slopes. You could also head over to nearby Smith Rock State Park, where you might see golden eagles, mule deer, and river otters during treks through the wilderness.