Diamond Lake: 76 miles E of Roseburg, 80 miles NE of Medford
Ore. 138, which heads east out of Roseburg and leads to Diamond Lake and the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park, is one of the state's most scenic highways. Along much of its length, the highway follows the North Umpqua River, which is famed among fly anglers for its fighting steelhead and salmon. As far as I'm concerned, this deep aquamarine stream is the most beautiful river in Oregon and is well worth a visit even if you don't know a Worley Bugger from a muddler minnow (that's fly talk, for the uninitiated). Between Idleyld Park and Toketee Reservoir, you'll find numerous picnic areas, boat launches, swimming holes, and campgrounds.
As Ore. 138 approaches the crest of the Cascades, it skirts the shores of Diamond Lake, which is a major recreational destination (though it's certainly not as beautiful as nearby Crater Lake). Almost a mile in elevation, Diamond Lake is set at the foot of jagged Mount Thielsen, a spire-topped pinnacle known as the "lightning rod of the Cascades." The lake offers swimming, boating, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, and, in winter, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Just beyond Diamond Lake is the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park.
The 24-mile-long Ore. 230 connects the Diamond Lake area with the valley of the upper Rogue River at the community of Union Creek. Although this stretch of the Rogue is not as dramatic as the North Umpqua or the lower Rogue River, it has its charms, including a natural bridge, a narrow gorge, and some grand old trees.