On Memorial Day, Monday the 29th, I got the chance to ride Scenic McKenzie Pass (Highway 242) for the first time. Being my first year in Eugene, I really wanted to do this ride. I had seen a lot of photos of other cyclists on the ride before, with the high packed snow walls; it just seem incredible. Also, last October, Angel and I had a chance to drive it while going to the OHBS in Bend, it made me really want spend more time there and revisit the Pass.
They close off Hwy 242 during the winter months due to snow. They open it back up in May for a couple weeks only to cyclists, which is a great time to venture out, because you have no fear of cars coming up the hill behind you. The pass is about 4o miles from the turnoff at 126 to Sisters, OR. I chose only to ride up to the Dee Wright Observatory, (22miles) the summit of 5325 feet elevation. 3600 feet of climbing with great views throughout of the Willamette Nation Forest, Mount Washington Wilderness Area, Three Sisters Wilderness Area, and into the Deschutes National Forest (if you continue or start in Sisters). Up towards the top there are amazing lava fields, it’s kind of crazy to think about the lava fields, and how much volcanic activity Oregon had just a couple thousand years ago. At the top, like I mentioned, is the Dee Wright Observatory where you can look out at all the amazing mountain and land formations.
It was a super fun ride. I tend to ride a little slow, taking about 4 or 5 hours on my way up, but that includes a lot of stops for photos, food, making a couple snowmen, and just enjoying the view. It then only took about 45mins to get back down to the bottom. An incredible descent after riding that same route up. I totally recommend this ride for anyone who ever gets a chance. Just be prepared to climb a lot. Here are my photos from the ride.
Along the way I decided to made a couple snow men just for fun. I thought other cyclists would like the encouragement while going up and down the pass. The one in the road has 2 faces. I had to climb the snow wall to get his features, but that was really cool itself.
Here is a 360 Degree View from atop Dee Wright Observatory from the first time Angel and I drove the pass last October on our way to Bend for the OHBS. We took a lot of photos that day. I’m really glad I got a chance to ride the pass, hopefully I get to do it again.
History of McKenzie Pass – HERE