McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass loop

McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass loop, Sisters: Address, McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass loop Reviews: 5/5

McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass loop

McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass loop
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Eighty-two-mile scenic byway offering the best foliage in the state.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
240 reviews
Excellent
205
Very good
34
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
0

ksrich
Linwood, KS343 contributions
A beautiful drive, lots of curves, some burned out areas, but still very beautiful. The lava fields in the middle are very interesting. The Dee Wright Observatory was something you will not find elsewhere. Hard to imagine it being built. Proxy falls was a great stop and very nice hike. A very different drive.
Written September 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Wannabee04/12
Oregon5 contributions
Solo
The road is extremely curvy with many switchbacks. Not suitable for vehicles towing trailers or large motorhomes. Beautiful scenery! Make a stop at the Dee Wright Observatory, built with native lava rock. Each window frames a mountain peak and the area lava fields are amazing. Take time for a hike to Proxy Falls, you won't be disappointed. As you get to the junction of Hwy 242 (Old McKenzie Hwy that you have been following) and Hwy 126, proceed to McKenzie Bridge for some lunch. Continue north on Hwy 126 that follows the McKenzie River, hike into the Blue Pool. Find the trail by crossing the Trailbridge dam and follow the signs to trailhead. Continue north on Hwy 126 and make a stop at Clear Lake or hike the McKenzie River trail. Sahalie and Kooshia Falls are must see! Both falls are fantastic with a trail between Sahalie Falls and Carmen Reservoir. Head back to Sisters for a micro brew, appetizer or dinner at Three Creeks Brewing on the east end of town. The Old MacKenzie Hwy is closed during the winter months but is perfect for a snowmobile, cross country skiing or snowshoe adventure. From the snow gate, its approximately 8 miles to the Dee Wright Observatory. Perfect way to spend a sunny winter day.
Written November 25, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brandon_Davis
Salem, OR1 contribution
Ancient Camps of the McKenzie Pass

It was a summer weekend exploring Oregon’s McKenzie Pass west of the town of Sisters. My wife and I were walking the shoreline of a pristine cross-country lake late in the afternoon. Slanting rays of golden sunshine softly lit the pine forest, where a warm breeze made a gentle, flute-like sound of tranquility. As we came around the lake, the snow-mantled brilliance of the Three Sisters came into view above the treetops. We lingered at the picturesque vantage point, an ancient meadow where daydreams of contentment seemed to dwell. As we looked about the area, we noticed many glistening objects lying on the ground amid the driftwood. We found them to be fragments of obsidian, evoking an image of Indian hunters chipping at arrowheads within the view of the Three Sisters. As each chip hits the ground, the arrowhead slowly takes shape; becoming a fine tool worthy of the game it will bring the hunter. Every few minutes the Indian looks up at the Three Sisters, as if drawing inspiration from this family of lofty mountain peaks. Perhaps he thinks of his own family camped nearby, dependent on his hunting prowess for their livelihood. He returns to his task, finishing the obsidian to razor sharpness. Considering this for a few minutes, we were “lost in space and time” as my wife sagely put it.
Native Americans traded obsidian from central Oregon all over the west. It has been found as far away as British Columbia and Mexico. The techniques used to chip off a sharp edge on obsidian and flint are similar, but in general flint was more widely used because of its availability and the fact it held an edge better. Here in the Pacific Northwest obsidian was more commonly used, often found in campsites scattered throughout Oregon. In these places the daydreams of Stone-Age hunters still carry across the millennium.
Written April 26, 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

knewto
Beaverton, OR8 contributions
Couples
We loved taking this loop mid June. Started in Sisters on 242, went to Dee Wright observatory. Excellent place to identify all the local Mts. and peeks, view the volcanic flows, onto Proxy Falls, a place we've always wanted to go. Gorgeous, easy slightly over a mile loop hike except if you go down to the base of falls, steep and uneven terrain with fallen logs, water, rocks, etc. Very curvy beautiful road and joined 126 onto Sahalie and Koosch Falls. Hiked the 2.6 mile waterfall trail with stunning McKenzie river views the entire way. This is a must do, wish it hadn't taken our entire lives (we are native Oregonians) to do this. Crowded trail but not hard. Lots of steps so if you mobility challenged just go to Sahalie Falls. Onto Clear Lake cute county run "resort" with boats for rent. Saw decent sized trout hanging out at the dock. Then stopped at Fish Lake which isn't a lake this time of year but a green meadow. Walk through the wooden "toll" gate up to the historical log homes which used to be the crossroads for the wagon trail established in 1863(?) and now houses the US Forest Service workshops since the fifties. Then we joined hwy 20, a stretch we have driven dozen of times so did not stop and returned to Sisters. Allot enough time to make stops to hike and pack a lunch. It took us six hours and we still want to return to explore more. Note: 242 is popular with bicycle riders so caution is advised when rounding corners.
Written June 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jo Ellen W
Pittsburgh, PA167 contributions
Couples
We were staying in Bend. One afternoon,we decided to take this drive through the Cascades. The drive starts in the town of Sisters. The signage is good. We stopped at the Dee Wright Observatory and looked at all the mountain peaks and lava fields. This building is made from lava rock. We drove slowly around all the hairpin turns to Proxy Falls where we hiked. Parking is very limited here. We climbed over the lava rocks and walked in the forest to get to the falls.We then continued on to Koosah and Sahalie Falls before driving over the pass and returning to Sisters. This was a beautiful drive. Allow at least 4-5 hours to complete.
Written October 26, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chuck2010
Palmyra, PA2,575 contributions
Couples
This is a great 4-5 hour loop clockwise drive experience starting with breakfast in Sisters and then having lunch in sisters on your return (82 miles total).

Download a map off the interstate for the drive and make sure to stop at these highlights:
Dee Wright Observatory
Belknap Viewpoint
Clear Lake
Proxy Falls
Sahalie Falls
Koosah Falls

Just a really scenic drive with some short hikes the falls ... easy to find all locations off the highway ... enjoy the diversity
Written November 16, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dotty M
Indio, CA275 contributions
Couples
We rode our trike from Bend to The Dee Wright Observatory. Amazing , moon like scenery I’ve ever seen. We had no idea what waited for us. They recently (maybe 1 year ago) had an intense wildfire run through here making even for moon like! The views go on forever of Mt. Washington, Mt. Jefferson, 3 Sisters, Broken Top and much more. It is worthwhile. Then we made a u turn and headed back to Sisters for lunch.
Written July 10, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kirk47
Carmel, IN272 contributions
Couples
Out of Sisters Oregon take SR 242 McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass National Scenic Byway up to the Dee Wright Observatory. You if love out of the way places, scenic and unique vistas, take this drive. It will take you thru narrow winding roads with lava walls on each side. You will have views of vast lava fields and mountains and then old growth forests. Yes it is slow and lots of curves but it is worth it.
Written November 4, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

shelleygans
Townsend, MA9 contributions
Solo
I went by myself as my husband was fishing and it took about 4 hours with a few stops on the way. The foliage was just beautiful- almost surreal with the golds and rust shades. The topography was incredible changing from stark lava fields to huge pine forest with several waterfalls to look at on the way. Not for the timid driver as there are lots of hair pin turns after the summit.
Also lots of hiking trails but you need a PASS to use them.
Written October 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Melanie H
Hillsboro, OR28 contributions
Couples
We had a wonderful time driving this loop. I have lived in Oregon my whole life and have never had the joy of driving this road. It was fabulous. Breathtaking views and sheer cliffs woven with tall trees. Make sure the road is open as I believe it is closed over the winter months. I would recommend stopping at the Proxy Falls. It is an easy hike and worth the stop.
Written September 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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