The Quartzville Back Country Byway encompasses an enjoyable drive past Foster Lake and then north up the Quartzville Recreational Corridor, skirting Green Peter Reservoir. This scenic drive begins one mile east of Sweet Home and connects US Hwy 20 to State Highway 22 approximately 19 miles east of Detroit, Oregon. The byway takes visitors past the emerald green depths of Green Peter Reservoir and along the winding flow of alternately calm and rushing waters of Quartzville Creek. Visitors find a delightful visual surprise of towering trees, rich vegetation and wildflowers as well as panoramic views of the Cascade Mountain Range; including Mount Jefferson.
Traveling through the Quartzville Back Country Byway provides a great opportunity to drive through forests established to provide habitat to plant and animals which are dependent on old-growth forest characteristics to flourish. Old-growth stands are undergoing constant change and contain all or most of the species of wildlife, fish and plants that are native to them. Natural events such as fire or windstorms can alter these forests, but they recover quickly. The wooded areas under and surrounding old grow timber stands are a jungle of vine maple, yew, rhododendrons, huckleberries and young trees. Such diversity is one of the reasons biologists’ value old growth.
Seasonal changes allow visitors to enjoy the byways varying array of colors. Spring is a fabulous time to visit the area as spring leaves and an abundance of wildflowers emerge; summertime allows visitors to enjoy a variety of summer activities in the shade of towering evergreens and winter is a snow-lovers playground. While each season holds its own allure, autumn is truly the best season to experience the force of nature’s kaleidoscope. Drawn by a panorama of vivid fall colors this one-day road trip is truly a photographers dream!
In addition to the wide variety of forest habitat, the byway offers numerous recreational opportunities. Camping and picnicking are allowed in both developed and undeveloped areas along the corridor; the undeveloped areas where camping is not allowed are blocked or signed as ‘no camping’. Swimming, boating and fishing are available along Quartzville Creek or in Green Peter Reservoir which attracts thousands of visitors annually for seasonal fun. Many trails near the byway offer a variety of forest settings and scenic views. Off highway recreational vehicles (OHV) are allowed on designated roads and trails unless they are licensed for public streets; please refer to local BLM and USFS offices for more information.
The National Wild and Scenic River System is a 9.6 mile portion of Quartzville Creek along a one-lane paved roadway that is recognized for the outstanding scenic driving, white water rafting and recreational mining opportunities it offers. Named for the quartz rock formations found along with the gold in the mines, Quartzville Recreational Corridor is a popular area for panning for gold; rock hounding is also a popular pastime for recreational miners along the route.