Traveling from the Portland area, Seattle or Western Washington to Sunriver includes one jaw-dropping viewpoint after another. Planning a weekend getaway or week-long vacation to Sunriver, a relaxation and recreational gem of the Pacific Northwest, means driving past some of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls, mountaintops, and pristine mirror lakes. From Oregon’s highest peaks to some of the state’s lowest canyons, the roadtrip to Sunriver from Portland is incredibly beautiful. You may even find yourself stretching the usual 3-hour drive into longer to see some of the sights along the way.
Must See Viewpoints between Portland and Sunriver
For a Longer Hike, But Stunning Views – Ramona Falls — Shortly outside of Portland, near the small town of Rhododendron, you’ll find one of the most stunning waterfalls in the state of Oregon. The 8.1-mile loop trail can be moderately challenging, but is popular and accessible for many skill levels. You’ll likely encounter people hiking, on horseback or snowshoeing in the winter. You won’t want to miss this cascading waterfall and the beautiful hike, if you’ve got the time before visiting Sunriver.
For Mirror Views of Mt. Hood – Trillium Lake — On a clear day, many consider Trillium Lake to offer the best views of Mt. Hood. After passing Government Pass, you’ll turn left and head to the Trillium Lake Day Use Area. Hike along the scenic boardwalk trail and take in majestic views of one of Oregon’s most popular mountain peaks. With its short distance from Portland, Trillium Lake is a popular destination, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find solitude there.
For Quick Roadside Views – Pelton Wildlife Overlook — Located between the Warm Springs Reservation and Madras, a visit to Pelton Wildlife Overlook is the perfect way to break up the drive. Take the turn off of Highway 26 to Lake Simtustus and from there, you’ll take the next turn for Pelton Wildlife Overlook, well before you get to the lake. Relax in this quiet refuge away from the highway with nice views of the Pelton re-regulating reservoir.
For Vino with a View — Maragas Winery — If you’ve got a designated drive, a stop by Central Oregon’s favorite winery is essential on the drive from Portland to Sunriver on Highway 26. Maragas Winery, located in Culver, between Madras and Redmond, offers spectacular views of the Cascade Mountain Range, as well as delicious vino produced organically and sustainably on-site. Stop by between 12-5pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, to sample some of Maragas’ signature wines including their “Fresh” Pinot Gris and Terrebonne Tempranillo.
For a Scenic Viewpoint with Bungee Jumpers — Peter Skene Ogden Scenic Viewpoint — When we say you can see the highest highs and the lowest lows, we weren’t kidding. Stop by Peter Skene Ogden Scenic Viewpoint, just outside of Terrebonne, for picturesque views of the Crooked River Canyon, as well as the beautiful bridges crossing it. In the summer, odds are good you may even see bungee jumpers plummeting from the bridge! Just keep your pets in the car or on-leash, as there’s a hazardous cliff into the canyon.
For a Hike Resulting in 360-Degree Views of Central Oregon — Smith Rock State Park — If you want to experience the 360-degree views of Central Oregon from the top of Smith Rock, we advise you plan to include the whole hike. If you’re planning to hike at Smith Rock on your drive to or from Sunriver, plan ahead as the hike takes a couple of hours. You’ll be ready to relax in your vacation rental’s hot tub if you complete the hike on your way to Sunriver, at least!
For Views of Obsidian Fields — Newberry National Volcanic Monument at Lava Butte — When people think of Bend, Pilot Butte in the center of town comes to mind, but Lava Butte offers out-of-this-world views. Walk the Trail of Molten Land, the Trail of the Whispering Pines, or walk to the top of Lava Butte for incredible sights of Central Oregon’s volcanic landscape.
Plan Your Portland to Sunriver Road Trip!
Every time we drive with a new visitor to the area through Highway 26, over Mt. Hood to Sunriver, they always comment on how many TREES there are, and admittedly, it’s a lot! Whether you make any stops on your way over or not, your group will enjoy the scenic drive, which includes countless trees, snow-capped mountains, roaring rivers, roadside waterfalls, and beautiful, open farm land. The drive between Portland and Sunriver offers stunning views of the Cascade Mountains, as well as many other great stops along the way that will deepen your appreciation and love for this majestic state.
Coming from the Portland or Western Washington area and still looking for a Sunriver vacation rental for this summer? Sunset can help! Browse our selection of vacation homes and either book online or contact one of our reservationists for help finding the perfect rental.