In this page, you will find informations and advices we can give, based on our experience
McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway - Oregon
What to do if you have little time : Proxy Falls
The McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway is one of the most beautiful roads in Oregon. It goes through landscapes sometimes mountainous, sometimes volcanic or even areas of forest. Its highest point, the McKenzie Pass, is located at Dee Wright Observatory, at an altitude of 5300 feet. From this point of view, one sees very well the 3 sisters as well as some other high mountains.
The McKenzie Scenic Byway is 40 miles long from East to West. It can be combined with the Santiam Pass Scenic Byway to form a loop of about 93 miles. Because of its high altitude, it is not uncommon for this road to be closed from November to June. During our trip in June 2015, it opened only on June 15th. This is something to consider when preparing a trip to this area.
As in some National Forest, it is necessary to buy a pass to visit this road. It costs $ 5 for a day and can be purchased at the Ranger Station at the west end of the McKenzie Byway. It can also be purchased at the Proxy Falls Trailhead parking lot.
We advise you to devote at least 2 days to the visit of this part of Oregon.
Renowned waterfall in Oregon. It is a really wide and high waterfall. Water runs along the mossy rock. According to the period, the amount of water can vary. During our trip in June 2015, there was very little water. Not far away is another waterfall : Upper Proxy Falls, less interesting and not easy to photograph.
Beware that to see these falls, a permit is required, available for $5 at the trailhead or at the McKenzie Ranger Station on Route 126. The trail that descends to Proxy Falls forms a loop of about 1,6 mile. By looping clockwise, the first cascade is upper proxy falls reached after half a mile. Upon reaching the trail you will reach the viewpoint on Proxy Falls after about 0,3 mile. The descent to Proxy is then short (70 meters) but abrupt. Leaving the trail in a clockwise direction, you will return to the car park in 0,8 mile.
For photos, wide shots are less interesting than close shots. The sun's rays that pass through the foliage sometimes form rainbows. In the morning, the waterfall is completely in the shade. By late morning, it is against the light. In late afternoon, the top of the waterfall is still in the sun but it is at this time that we may have light rays.
Access : Proxy Falls is located on the McKenzie Pass Highway 242. From the crossing between the McKenzie River Byway 126 and the McKenzie Pass Highway, take the 242 eastwards for 8,7 miles until the well signposted parking.
Dee Wright Observatory
Pas de rando
N 44° 15' 37.4"
W 121° 48' 06.2"
This observatory is made with local volcanic rocks. On the observatory you have a panoramic view of the surrounding mountain chains. A table of orientation helps in the identification of the peaks. Inside the observatory, small windows face the highest mountains. It's very well done.
Access : from the crossing between the McKenzie River Byway 126 and the McKenzie Pass Highway, take the 242 eastwards for 21,6 miles. The observatory is at the edge of the road and impossible to miss.
500 m aller minimum
N 44° 12' 44.4"
W 121° 53' 21.2"
It is necessary to buy a permit at the McKenzie Ranger Station on Hwy 126. From this lake, we have a beautiful view of the Three Sisters mountain chain. Expect the mosquto repellent because the area is infested.
Access : from the crossing between the McKenzie River Byway 126 and the McKenzie Pass Highway, take the 242 eastwards for 15,8 miles. Turn left on the FS-260 for 1 mile. Then it is possible to get close to the lake on foot via the paths.
Promenade dans la ville
Typical far west style small city. Main street has kept a cowboy style. By the way, a famous rodeo is organized here every year.
To see around
We have tested :
Copyright Magali and David BELLEC