What are "Scenic Byways"?
The Mount Hood National Park proposal includes several new proposals for "byways" that would complement the existing Mount Hood Loop Highway, and provide alternative, scenic routes for auto touring and easy, paved access to picnicking, campgrounds and trailheads.
All of the proposed byways build on existing forest roads, and most are already paved, though generally in bad repair and often dangerous to travel. The proposal would bring them up to a safe standard, improve their aesthetic value with pull-outs, overlooks and interpretive stops, and manage them with an emphasis on sustainability. There are BLANK byways proposed for the new national park, as follows:
Surveyors Ridge Byway: this byway would follow Forest Road 17 from the upper Hood River Valley section of Highway 35, along Surveyors Ridge to Long Prairie, the follow Forest Road 44 down the face of the ridge, rejoining Highway 35 in the upper East Fork Valley. The theme of this byway would focus on the natural history of east side forests, scenic overlooks of the upper Hood River Valley, and hiking and bicycleng opportunities along the route. This byway would not be open in winter.
Lost Lake Byway: this is an existing loop along Forest Road 13 that begins and ends in the Dee Flat area of the Hood River Valley. The Lost Lake Byway would be anchored by a new lodge at Lost Lake, at the mid-point. Scenic enhancements would be made along the Lake Fork section, beyond Lost Lake, including new roadside viewpoints, pullouts and short trails that would help visitors explore the pockets of ancient forest that survive in this canyon. The segment to Lost Lake would be a year-round facility.
Lolo Pass Byway: this is among the most degraded corridors in the Mount Hood region, traversed by BPA transmission lines and heavily logged. But it is arguably the most scenic, with the rugged northwest face of Mount Hood towering above the area, and the route traversing the rim of the spectacular West Fork Hood River canyon. This byway would follow today's Lolo Pass Road, Forest Road 18, from Zigzag to a new lodge at Lolo Pass, then Forest Road 1810 down the east side of the pass to the West Fork canyon and the Lost Lake Byway. The theme of this route would center on the outstanding scenery and a program of restoration to heal the scars that mar the landscape today. The segment from Zigzag to Lolo Pass would be open year-round.
Skyline Road: this is a very old route, once planned to extend the length of the Oregon Cascades. The Mount Hood section follows Forest Road 42, from its junction with US 26 near Clear Lake to the historic Clackamas Lake district, then south to the Olallie Road (No. 4220). The balance of the route passes Olallie and Breitenbush Lakes, then descends along the Breitenbush canyon to the Clackamas River Byway. Much of this southern section is currently a gravel road, and a rough one at that. The national park concept is to improve this to a paved byway, but only if this can be accomplished in a way that enhances, not harms, the scenic and pristine Olallie Lakes high country. This route would be closed in winter.
High Rock Byway: this byway would depart from the Clackamas River Byway, where the Oak Grove Fork joins the Clackamas, and follow Forest Roads 57 and 58 to a proposed lodge and interpretive site at High Rock. From there, the route would continue east along existing Forest Road 58 to Little Crater Lake, ending at the junction with Skylilne Road. This route would be open year-round from the Clackamas River Byway to the new lodge at High Rock.
Clackamas River Byway: today's Clackamas River Highway already follows this route, along Oregon Highway 224 from Estacada to Ripplebrook, then Forest Road 46 to Breitenbush. This is already a popular drive, and the main theme within the national park proposal would continue to focus on river access and recreation. But new interpretive sites would be added to allow visitors to learn about the ecosystem that the Clackamas River watershed represents, including new trails and picnic areas, barrier-free paths and scenic pull-outs and overlooks.