Hwy. 26 Prineville Tour - Oregon Scenic Drives

View areas of desert, irrigated valleys, mountains, straight-sided rock formations, desert rivers and mountain streams. The geological and demographic variety of these tours invites further visits and takes the traveler from the times of the first settlers to the present. Experiences of all varieties are available.

The length of the Loop A tour is 50 miles with the Points of Interest keyed numerically to the map in a counterclockwise direction starting in Prineville.

Cinnabar Mine 
Three miles south of Madras on Hwy. 26. The wooden framed entrance can be seen on the side of the hill to the east of the highway. This is one of the many such mines throughout Central Oregon and the Ochoco Mts.

Crooked River National Grasslands
The roiling grassland is part of our National Forest System and is managed to provide habitat for antelope, deer and upland game. Rimrock Springs viewpoint and trail showcase this habitat.

Grizzly Mountain Pass 
Ten miles from Prineville. The stage coach road from Prineville to The Dalles was on the north side of this mountain. At this point, grasslands are left behind and irrigated fields of Ochoco Valley become visible.

City of Prineville Railway Overpass
Four miles. This railroad is one of the few municipally owned railroads in the U.S. Built in 1917 it has been a boon to the City of Prineville and to the lumber industry of the area. Tours available June-October.

City of Prineville
First town in Central Oregon. Settled in 1868 and once the center of a much larger Crook County, it remains the only incorporated city in Crook County. Chamber of Commerce office is on Fairview Ave., two blocks past Historic Courthouse.

One mile off Loop Tour and west on Hwy. 126 towards Redmond. Provides a great view of Prineville and the surrounding area. Tour route travels along the Crook River at the bottom of the hill.

Steel Bridge 
Three miles to right on Elliott Lane. Mention in Mrs. McCall's book, Ranch under the Rimrock, this bridge was a major step in tying the ranches along the Lower Crooked River in with Prineville.

McCall Ranch
Eleven miles. Home of the Late Governor Tom McCall, this large house can be seen across the valley from the highway and is indeed "under the rimrock."

Smith Rocks State Park 
Eighteen miles. Called "America's Euro-Crag" because of its similarity to European geography. These rocks have hosted climbers since the 1940s. Having over 600 routes, 3 of which receive the highest difficulty rating, the visitor to this park can enjoy the 7 miles of hiking trail, fish the Crooked River or use the picnic area to watch the climbers. The grace with which they scale the vertical walls is surpassed only by the natural beauty of this Central Oregon Park. There is a short steep climb that will allow viewing of 6 mountains to the west.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 18 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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