McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass loop, Sisters

4.9
#1 of 7 in Outdoors in Sisters
McKenzie Pass is a mountain pass in the Cascade Range in central Oregon, United States.
It is located at the border of Linn and Deschutes counties, approximately 20 mi northwest of Bend, between the Three Sisters to the south and Mt. Washington to the north. Oregon Route 242 passes over the pass.
At the summit of the pass, Oregon Route 242 crosses a 65sqmi lava flow just west of Sisters. Surrounded by lava, the Dee Wright Observatory was constructed in 1935 by Civilian Conservation Corps workers and named after their foreman. Visitors climb to the observatory to view the Cascade peaks visible from McKenzie Pass. Also near the summit is Clear Lake, a renowned location for fresh-water diving.
Highway 242 is not recommended for large trucks, trailers or motor homes due to numerous tight switchbacks. The pass is closed from November to July due to snow.
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McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass loop Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
239 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • We went through the Mckenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Loop on our way to Sunriver and found it to be a gorgeous drive complete with rushing rivers and great forest scenery including firs and pines! It is...  more »
  • We had a beautiful drive up the McKenzie Pass, at times it was quite steep with a gorge at the side. So also a little terrifying (but eh, we’re Dutch so our country is flat). And the enormous...  more »
Google
  • If you ever get the opportunity to take the pass it is well worth it so much to see and so much fun while you were going through the twists and turns the observatory is awesome once you get there as well
  • The Mckenzie Pass drive is beautiful and not crowded. It summits at the Dee Wright Observatory. On the side of the road is a small stone complex which allows for a view of several mountains and other geological rises in the region. Furthermore, the area is in a lava rock filed. These unique rocks add an other worldly feel to the area.

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