McKenzie Pass—Santiam Pass Scenic Byway


A portion of the byway travels through the McKenzie River Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest where you'll experience dramatic views of the snowcapped High Cascade Peaks. The panorama of lava fields and six Cascade peaks is made more striking by the contrast between the black lava and white snow. The mountains are mirrored in crystal-clear lakes, and the byway passes beautiful waterfalls, including Sahalie and Koosah Falls.

  • Length: 82 miles / 132 km
  • Time to Allow: Take two hours to drive the byway or five hours to stop at places along the way

This route is also part of the McKenzie Pass Oregon Scenic Bikeway and is popular with cyclists. Oregon Scenic Bikeways are official state-designated routes selected and curated by experts, with printable maps, GPS and signage. Download the Oregon Scenic Bikeways guide here.

From the Oregon Department of Transportation

Lava fields, snowcapped peaks and rushing rivers mark this 82-mile loop around two of central Oregon's Cascade Mountain passes. Anglers, hikers and skiers will delight in the ample recreational opportunities this Byway provides, and everyone will appreciate the striking alpine scenery.

The McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway takes you on a journey through a land of contrasts. On the west side of the Cascades, you'll encounter lush Douglas fir and red cedar forests; on the drier east side, lodgepole pines prevail. Lava fields adjoin snow fields, providing a stark black and white contrast between the forces of fire and ice, a contrast that's often mirrored in crystal-clear lakes, whose still waters are countered by several cascading waterfalls. The Byway boasts the highest concentration of snowcapped volcanoes (and associated glaciers) in the lower 48 states. Broken Top Mountain, Mount Washington and The Three Sisters (among other peaks) tower above the Byway.

The natural qualities of the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway are of national significance. There are outstanding examples of both ancient and recent volcanoes, cinder cones, lava flows, and deep, glaciated canyons. Forests along the Byway contain rare old-growth fir and ponderosa pine, and are home to a great variety of fish and wildlife, including several endangered species, such as bald eagles, northern spotted owls, Chinook salmon and bull trout.

Details at

Oregon Scenic Byways Official Driving Guide

At a Glance

Closest Towns: Sisters, OR
McKenzie Bridge, OR
Information Center: McKenzie River Ranger District
57600 McKenzie Hwy
McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



Show detail SHOW


Show detail SHOW

Nature Viewing

Show detail SHOW

Scenic Driving

Hide detail HIDE

Scenic Driving

Recreation areas with activity Scenic Driving:
Areas & Activities