Depending on exactly which routes one follows from Bend, the splendid Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway takes the traveler through a wonderland of about a dozen sparkling lakes, surrounded by snowcapped peaks, dense forests and geological formations.
Although a minimum driving time of three to five hours is suggested, I spent another full day here, allowing time for a number of short hikes and frequent photography stops, despite the sky being overcast much of the time.
Since there are numerous picnic areas along the way, groups will surely want to consider bringing along box lunches for an alfresco midday meal. Some of the sights that I explored on the byway were the popular wintertime destination of 9,065-foot Mount Bachelor, picturesque Sparks Lake, Lava Lake, Cultus Lake, as well as Todd, Elk, Hosmer and Twin Lakes, plus Wickiup Dam and Reservoir.
Lava Lake with Mount Bachelor in background
Canoeing on Sparks Lake