McKenzie Pass Scenic Drive / Bikeway
McKenzie Pass Hwy 242 – Road Bike Ride
Three Sisters: McKenzie Pass earned the coveted position as one of Oregon’s official Scenic Bikeways in September 2011.*
Designated Bikeways are selected from locally proposed routes and represent the “best of the best” road bicycle riding in Oregon. according to Oregon State’s website 2015**
A posting on Road Bike Review . com says:
“OR-242 – McKenzie Pass. The most spectacular Cascade Crossing in Oregon. It’s almost a 4,000 foot climb from the west and a 2,000 foot climb from the east. Lots of cool views, and cruising thru lava fields. Each side of the climb has a distinctly different feel: The west side starts in rain forest and ascends into the Lava Fields with something like 19 switchbacks. The east side is a dry, ponderosa forest. The road is open to bicycles and closed to traffic for about 2 weeks every year – riding that without traffic is way too cool.”
Notable stops along the way: Dee Wright Observatory, Proxy Falls
This ride is often a centerpiece of the Cascade Cycling Classic road bike race.
- For less climbing start in Sisters, Oregon and ride to McKenzie Bridge.
- If you LOVE the challenge of a good climb, start in McKenzie Bridge Oregon and ride to Sisters.
- Arrange a shuttle to make logistics easy
- Bring a bike lock so you can take the short hike to Proxy Falls
Cascade Bike Tours offers a shuttle to the start of the ride in Sisters from Blue River / McKenzie Bridge. They can also arrange transportation for rides ending in Sisters. Horse Creek Lodge also offers a shuttle.
Great lodging options and a couple great hot springs (Terwilliger) are on the McKenzie River side of the ride along with some really neat boutique lodges. Lodging is usually cheaper on the McKenzie River side of the mountain.
McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway is part of a larger scenic Byway and Bikeway Loop network. There are multiple waterfalls and viewpoints along the way. It is a pretty intense bike ride for a one day activity, however it can be broken up into a 2 day ride.
Tips for riding the full loop of McKenzie Pass and Santiam Pass:
- Starting in either the McKenzie River side or in sisters and stopping overnight in the other location then heading back again the next day.
- The ascent from Blue River to Sisters on Hwy 126 is a more of gentle climb than taking 242 to Sisters. Return by way of Hwy 242
- Make time for a relaxing soak at Terwilliger Hot Springs.
Elevation map shows from McKenzie to Sisters which is a big climb – great for riders who want more of a challenge. For most riders we recommend taking a shuttle to Sisters and riding back to McKenzie.
Other big rides: Aufderheide Scenic Byway
Check out Video Footage from Cascade Cycling Classic Road Race
Scenic Drive | Road Bike Ride | Blue River | McKenzie River area | Oregon | Cascade Mountains
- Address GPS: 44.2503233, -121.82910520000001
- Category Road Biking, Scenic Drives, Things To Do
- Location McKenzie River
- Tags biking, highway, highway 242, McKenzie, McKenzie Pass, McKenzie River, mountain, road, road bike, road biking, scenic, scenic drive
- By Jessy Webster
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org