Halfway between Eugene and the Cascades’ summit on Route 58 lies the town of Oakridge. Lumber, secondary wood products (furniture, toys, etc.), recreation, and tourism support this small community (pop. 3,200) tucked away in a foothill valley of the Cascades. Visitors will find some of the finest wilderness areas in Oregon in this area.
There are over 100 lakes and streams nearby waiting for just about any nimrod to pull out his or her quota of rainbow, German brown, cutthroat, and Dolly Varden trout from the cool waters. A short drive southeast of town, near Willamette Pass, are several Central Oregon gems: Waldo Lake, the Diamond Peak Wilderness Area, and Odell Lake.
Winter-sports enthusiasts can find excellent downhill skiing at Willamette Pass, which features 18 runs, four chairlifts, a rope tow, and a day lodge. There are plenty of beautiful trails available for Nordic skiers too.
Additional information on biking, hiking, camping, and the Aufderheide National Scenic Byway can be obtained from the Middle Fork Ranger Station (46375 Rte. 58, Westfir, 541/782-2283, www.fs.fed.us/r6/willamette).
If you like to fish, hike, camp, sail, ski, mountain bike, or just hang out in the woods, it’s all only minutes away from Oakridge.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel