Oregon Roads: Mckenzie Pass Highway

Mckenzie Highway


The McKenzie Pass Highway, just 21 miles northwest of Bend, is a scenic drive that crosses Oregon’s majestic Cascade Range and passes through the firs and pines of two national forests.

  • A scenic highway that stretches for nearly 88 miles between Sisters and Springfield / Eugene.
  • Visit the Goodpasture Bridge, one of Oregon’s most notorious covered bridges.
  • Explore two national wilderness areas near McKenzie Pass.
  • A scenic highway that stretches for nearly 88 miles between Sisters and Springfield / Eugene.

Overview

The McKenzie Highway in Oregon is truly one of the most scenic drives in the Pacific Northwest. It covers nearly 88 miles of countryside between Sisters and Springfield. Two national forests, towering peaks of the Cascade Range, and the sparkling waters of the McKenzie River make this drive breathtakingly beautiful.

Driving Directions

If you are travelling from Bend, you can access the McKenzie Highway Oregon by taking Hwy 20 north to Sisters. From there, start the drive by heading west on Hwy 242 (closed in the winter) and cross McKenzie Pass. Continue on Hwy 126 west at Belknap Springs. The McKenzie Highway ends when it meets Interstate 5 at Eugene / Springfield.

Time/Distance

A drive along the 88-mile McKenzie Highway will take you just under 2 hours. Of course, with so many scenic spots along the way you may want to set aside a few hours to fully appreciate this beautiful roadway.

Highlights

  • Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail – This well-known trail, which extends from Mexico to Canada, crosses the highway at McKenzie Pass, Oregon, where the elevation is over 6,300 feet.
  • National Wilderness Areas – Just west of the pass, McKenzie Highway divides two designated wilderness areas, Three Sisters to the south, and Mt. Washington to the north.
  • McKenzie River Ranger Station – This was once the location of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Belknap. The ranger station, located in McKenzie Bridge, is open to visitors 7 days a week during the summer.
  • Blue River – Stop and visit the town’s Christmas store, where you’ll find the tallest lighted Christmas tree in the world at over 160 feet. It boasts over 50,000 lights!
  • Goodpasture Bridge – Built in 1938, this picturesque covered bridge near Leaburg is one of the most famous in the state.
  • McKenzie River – This sparkling river flows along the McKenzie Highway between Rainbow and Springfield. It was named after an 1812 explorer named Donald McKenzie.

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