From Sisters the McKenzie Pass byway follows the path of an 1860’s wagon route, ascending through forest until arriving at Windy Point with a great view of Mount Washington and a 65-square-mile lava flow.
Soon 5,325-foot McKenzie Pass was reached. There is a fascinating lava rock structure to explore, Dee Wright Observatory, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935. Views to the south were dominated by Middle and North Sisters.
On the descent from McKenzie Pass I took a detour to Scott Lake, a popular camping area with nice views of the Sisters. Before turning right and making the scenic loop back to Santiam Pass and beyond, I visited McKenzie Bridge which was a very pleasant area along the McKenzie River.
Oh, did I mention the McKenzie Pass byway is one of the best for viewing the autumn colors of vine maple and other hardwood trees? It wasn’t up to its usual standard, but it still made for a pretty outing.
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