Named after the city in India that is now called Chennai, although some believe that it was named after the madras variety of cloth. The town is mostly in the rather small Willow Creek Basin. To the West are the Agency Plains, to the east are hills (and the Deer Ridge Correctional Institute,) and to the south and southeast is the Crooked River National Grassland.
Madras is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, not on the second as Madras in India is.
Madras is located at the intersection of U.S. Routes 26 and 97 in Central Oregon, about 120 miles (2.5 to 3 hours) southeast of Portland and 45 miles (1 hour) north of Bend. U.S. 26 is the most direct route between the Portland area and Madras, passing over the slopes of Mount Hood. For travelers from the north, Madras is located about 90 miles south of both The Dalles (via US 197 to US 97) and Biggs Junction (via US 97), both of which are located on I-84.
The nearest airport with commercial service is Redmond Municipal Airport about 30 miles (half an hour) south; the nearest major airport is Portland International Airport.
A car is necessary to see much of Madras and the accompanying lake, Billy Chinook. Mt Hood Teleporter is a public transport service to reach Madras from Redmond or from Government Camp to Madras.
- Lake Billy Chinook.
- The Erickson Aircraft Collection, 2408 NW Berg Dr (At Madras Municipal Airport. From Hwy 26, take NW Cherry Lane exit and turn right on NW Berg, formerly called NW Airport Way), ☏ . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM.
- Richardson's Rock Ranch, 6683 Hay Creek Rd, ☏ , toll-free: . 7am - 5pm.
- Surface Watersports - Lake Billy Chinook offers relatively good conditions for surface watersports like wakeboarding and water skiing. Wake up early for the best water or "AM Glass." There are numerous boat launches and the marina offers mooring and boat/equipment rentals.
- The Truckstop. A favorite of locals, the truckstop is a diner within a Shell station offering massive portions of some very good diner food. Huge delicious burgers and massive servings of breakfast are sure to satisfy.
|Routes through Madras|
|Portland ← Warm Springs ←||W E||→ Prineville → Boise|
|Yakima ← Goldendale ← Jct W E ←||N S||→ Redmond → Bend|