McKenzie Pass in Oregon is beyond a doubt one of the most breathtaking drives in Oregon. The elevation is 5335ft and is located in the Cascade Range in central Oregon. It is located at the border of Linn and Deschutes counties aproximately 20 miles northwest of Bend, between the Three Sisters to the the south and Mt.Washington to the north.
Surrounded by Lava the Dee Wright Observatory was constructed in 1935 and gives the visitor a three hundred sixty degree view of Oregon. This highway is narrow and winding with tight switchbacks. The drive is short on miles but will take more time than the other more traveled roads. It is closed in the winter.
Remember when you go there are lots of places for wonderful picture taking. But, there is no cell service so make sure friends and family know you are taking this route. There are numerous places to hike and camp along this drive.
The McKenzie-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway features geologically noteworthy volcanic and glacial landscapes. Lava fields, snowcapped peaks and rushing rivers mark this 82-mile loop around two of central Oregon's Cascade Mountain passes. You will feel as if you are on a journey through a land of contrasts. On the west side of the Cascades, you'll see lush Douglas Fir and red cedar forests; on the east side lodgepole pines are the dominant tree. Lava fields lay adjacent to snow fields, providing a stark black and white picture. The contrast is often mirrored in crystal clear lakes, whose still waters are countered by cascading waterfalls.
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