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Dee Wright Observatory, Blue River

(65+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This is at the summit of the McKenzie Pass. It's nice place to stop and take a look. If you like lava fields you will be right in the middle of a great one. The observatory give a nice view in all dir...  more »
  • This place was so cool! It's definitely worth a stop on the way through. If you climb up you can peep through the windows that tell you what mountain you're looking at! Definitely worth stopping!  more »
  • This stop is excellent for adults and children. The views are great, and the educational path through the lava is one of the best I've ever walked. No one should miss this opportunity. The educational...  more »
Google
  • 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)
  • A quick drive up the mountain from sisters through the lava fields makes this a perfect escape from your normal day.
  • Awesome views. Can be very windy.