Santiam Pass, Oregon

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Santiam Pass

In the Cascade Mountains about 42 miles northwest of Bend is a stretch of highway known as Santiam Pass, surrounded by the beautiful Deschutes National Forest and two scenic wilderness areas.

  • Explore this beautiful stretch of Highway 20 approximately 42 miles northwest of Bend.
  • Go skiing, boarding, or tubing at nearby Hoodoo Ski Area.
  • Miles of scenic trails in the area for hiking, backpacking, or horseback riding.
  • Challenge your mountaineering skills on the rugged slopes of Three Fingered Jack or Mt. Washington.

Overview

Santiam Pass, at an elevation of 4,817 feet, is the highest stretch of the scenic Santiam Highway northwest of Bend. This particular section of the highway intersects the famous Pacific Crest Trail while simultaneously dividing two designated wilderness areas. Visitors to the area can enjoy a variety of recreation including hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, mountaineering, and skiing.

Driving Directions

If you’re driving from Bend, the Santiam Pass is approximately 42 miles northwest of town on Highway 20.

Time/Distance

The Santiam Pass is a short stretch of the Santiam Highway where the elevation peaks at over 4,800 feet. Although it takes just minutes to drive over the pass, you may want to stop and spend a few hours exploring the spectacular beauty of the surrounding area.

Highlights

  • Winter Recreation – Just as you get over the pass you’ll come to the turnoff for Hoodoo Ski Area, just south of Highway 20. Smaller and less crowded than Mt. Bachelor, Hoodoo is a great place for downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and cross-country skiing. There are also plenty of places near the pass for backcountry skiing and snowshoeing.
  • Hiking, Backpacking, and Horseback Riding – The Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches for hundreds of miles between Mexico and Canada, crosses Highway 20 at Santiam Pass. There are also plenty of other places to hike and ride throughout the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area just north of the pass, and the Mt. Washington Wilderness Area southwest of the pass.
  • Fishing – There are plenty of sparkling alpine lakes and streams teeming with trout and other fish near Santiam Pass. Suttle Lake, just east of the pass, is a popular fishing spot for salmon and trout.
  • Climbing – Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Washington are two prominent Cascade peaks near Santiam Pass that attract many climbers. Both offer spectacular views from their summits.
  • History – Andrew Wiley discovered the area in 1859. He named the pass after the Santiam Indians, a Kalapooian tribe that made its home on the Santiam River.

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