Oregon Roads: Santiam Pass Highway

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Santiam Highway

Just 21 miles northwest of Bend at Sisters you will find the Santiam Highway, which takes you through 100 miles of some of the most breathtaking scenery in Oregon.

  • A 100 mile stretch of scenic highway between Sisters and Albany.
  • Hike through spectacular wildflowers in the summer at Black Butte or Cone Peak.
  • Climb one of the many rock pinnacles in the Menagerie Wilderness Area.
  • Stop and fish for trout and salmon at Suttle Lake or the Santiam River.

Overview

If you want to drive through some of Central Oregon’s most beautiful scenery, take the Santiam Highway. Extending for 100 miles between Sisters and Albany, this stretch of road takes you through two national forests past volcanic peaks, alpine lakes, meadows blooming with wildflowers in the summer, unique rock formations, and the Santiam River.

Driving Directions

The Santiam Highway stretches between Sisters and Albany. To get there from Bend, follow Highway 20 north to Sisters. The highway travels northwest from Sisters to the state capital of Albany.

Time/Distance

The Santiam Highway covers 100 miles. The drive takes about 2 hours in good road conditions, although you may want to plan for a few hours to stop and enjoy the many highlights along the way.

Highlights

  • Black Butte – This 6,436-foot extinct volcano is a beautiful place to hike during the summer when wildflowers abound.
  • Pacific Crest Trail – This famous hiking and horseback riding trail stretches for hundreds of miles from Mexico to Canada. It crosses Santiam Highway near the Santiam Pass, Oregon.
  • Hoodoo Ski Area – Just west of Santiam Pass, this popular ski area is great for Alpine and Nordic skiing, tubing, and snowboarding.
  • Tombstone Pass – Hike to Cone Peak, where over 300 species of spectacular wildflowers bloom during the summer.
  • Menagerie Wilderness Area – An array of fascinating rock pinnacles, all named after animals, attracts many mountaineers and hikers.
  • Santiam River – This beautiful river, known for excellent trout, steelhead, and salmon fishing, flows along several miles of the highway between Foster Lake and Draperville.
  • Sweet Home – This little logging town is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Santiam Playground”. A prehistoric forest once covered the area, making it a great place for rockhounding.
  • Lebanon – This bustling town is famous for its annual Strawberry Festival, which boasts the largest shortcake in the world.

Questions & Answers