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Oregon > Oregon Scenic Byways > McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway
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McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway

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McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway
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Quick Facts
Designation: National Scenic Byway
Designation: Oregon State Scenic Byway
Designation: USFS Scenic Byway
Fees: Parking passes can be purchased from the ranger st
Length, One-Way: 82 Miles (136.67 Kilometers)
Time: 3-5 hours, including time to stop at overlooks

General Information

Description - This byway flaunts the highest concentration of snowcapped volcanoes (and associated glaciers) in the lower 48 states. Broken Top Mountain and The Three Sisters, along with their waterfalls, tower gloriously above the route.

Lava fields lie next to calm, clear lakes, providing a gentle reminder of the area's violent beginning. This area really illustrates how the Cascade Range was built.

Attractions - The McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway is known for it's archeology, cultural, historical, natural, recreational and scenic attractions. This byway passes through the Three Sisters Wilderness, Deschutes National Forest and the Willamette National Forest.

Recreation - Travelers on the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway can enjoy camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, and viewing scenery.

Climate - Climate in central and eastern Oregon varies greatly depending on elevation. The high elevations receive much more precipitation and colder temperatures. These regions are much more arid and see greater temperature extremes than western Oregon. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April, mostly in the form of snow in the higher elevations. Winter temperatures can drop well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Snow remains in the high mountains into early summer. Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days, with warm to hot temperatures at the low elevations and moderate temperatures at the higher elevations. Summer afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon.

Location - McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway is located in central Oregon. This byway can be traveled from Bend, Sisters or Eugene.

Directions from : There are several ways to get to the byway:

  • From Bend: Take U.S. Highway 20 west to the town of Sisters.

  • From Sisters: Head west on State Highway 242 to the edge of town where the byway begins. The byway's East Portal is located here.

  • From Eugene: Take State Highway 126 east to the McKenzie Ranger Station (the site of the byway's West Portal information facility), and then go to the junction of State Highways 126 and 242 where the byway begins.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Scenic Driving McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway
ICON Viewing Scenery McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway

More Information

Additional Information:
Oregon Scenic Byways - Oregon offers a multitude of national, state, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and National Forest byways. These byways include five National Scenic Byways and three All-American Roads.

Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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