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Dee Wright Observatory, Blue River

#6 of 10 in Childrens Museums in Oregon
Observatory Museum
Dee Wright Observatory is an observation structure at the summit of McKenzie Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. The structure is an open shelter constructed with lava stone. It is located in the midst of a large lava flow, and offers an exceptional view of numerous Cascade peaks.LocationDee Wright Observatory is located in the Willamette National Forest 15 miles (24 km) west of Sisters, Oregon on Route 242. The highway is part of the McKenzie-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway. McKenzie Pass is 5325ft above sea level, and winter snow and the narrow road surface requires McKenzie Pass to be closed from November to July each year.StructureThe observatory is an open shelter built with lava stone found at the construction site. The viewing windows are cut to specifically highlight the neighboring mountains. These "lava tube" viewing holes allow visitors to easily identify the different Cascade peaks. There is also a 36 inch (90 cm) diameter, bronze azimuth-like "peak finder" on the observatory’s roof to help visitors locate nearby geologic features as well as the surrounding mountain peaks. From the top of the observatory, visitors have a panoramic view of the Cascade Mountain Range including Mount Hood in the far north.Many peaks can easily be seen from Dee Wright Observatory: Mount Jefferson, Cache Mountain, Dugout Butte, Black Butte, Bluegrass Butte, Black Crater, North Sister, Middle Sister, Little Brother (and ridge west), Condon Butte, Scott Mountain, South Belknap Cone, Belknap Crater, Little Belknap, and Mount Washington. Mount Hood, Bald Peter, Green Ridge, and Horsepasture Mountain can also be seen from the observatory during good weather.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
72 reviews
  • We were camping close to Belknap Springs and drive up to see the lava fields and observatory. It was amazing to see miles of lava and the mountains in the distance. Not alot of people were here and fo...  more »
  • Climb on top and see the lava beds for miles, the Sisters in the distance, and Mount Washington. It was still cool here even on a summers day, but we got an early start. It can get crowded so you migh...  more »
  • 6 of us were traveling around the Sisters, OR area. We had no idea that the Dee Wright Observatory would be such a lovely stop! It has awesome views & the short walk has wonderful educational signs. I...  more »
  • Very cool place. Been here a couple of times with my uncle who lives in Oregon. Going to start sort of a family tradition of taking pictures at the spot. Pic of my Grandfather and Pops as a kid. I know ive been there as a kid so I have to find pics. Make time to go and visit. Its worth it.
  • This place was really cool to climb to on my bicycle​. I started out early and there was a chill in the air as I summited the pass. The observatory is out of this world. I recommend it.
  • Love this place and the views are great. Several near by hiking trails. Anytime I have been here (weekday) it has been quiet and not a lot of people around. This place should be on your places to visit bucket list. (Was last here in November 2016)
  • Really cool observatory by an old lava flow with views of the three sisters, Mt Washington and Mt Jefferson.
  • Mountain views and education regarding the lava fields. The road is in great condition throughout the pass.

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