View Full Version : McKenzie Pass safe?

11-04-2007, 07:01 PM
I'm looking for a route to Bend next summer to visit my mom. Going over the Santiam seems too dangerous- places without any shoulder, crazy traffic, etc. Is the McKenzie Pass out of Eugene safe? If not, what is a safe way to Bend? Thanks.


11-05-2007, 06:03 AM
pdx to bend-follow the clackamas river and by staying on nf46 follow the breitenbush river to detroit lakes. take a left on hwy22 to bend.

11-05-2007, 06:46 AM
I'm not sure if you're talking about the entire ride from Eugene, which I can't speak for, but just after passing McKenzie Bridge (I think) you can get on the old McKenzie Pass, which is beautiful and takes you all the way to Sisters. It has no shoulder either, but it's so twisty and narrow that cars really don't travel all that fast. The route of the Cascade Classic used to include the west face of this road, which made for a great race, and I rode it a few times in training as well when it was open to traffic. No problems. Give it a shot next summer, it's worth it.

Side note, though. They don't plow the road, so it doesn't open until all of the snow has melted. Could be as late as June.

11-05-2007, 03:21 PM
One cool thing about the mckenzie pass route is that if you go just before they open it then it will be clear of snow, but there will be no cars. Here is a website that shows when it opened/closed every year. As you can see the opening dates vary by quite a bit.


11-05-2007, 03:59 PM
A couple of official car-free days every spring would make for a lovely tradition.

10-31-2008, 01:31 PM
It has been a year since I posted in this thread, and I still dream of a car-free opening weekend for us on McKenzie Pass. Does anyone else want to see that happen?

11-01-2008, 07:58 AM
It has been a year since I posted in this thread, and I still dream of a car-free opening weekend for us on McKenzie Pass. Does anyone else want to see that happen?

I wrote a couple of times to ODOT and they kept telling me about logs in the road, etc. I never did ride it but hope to next spring/summer. I imagine it's too late for this year.

11-01-2008, 08:22 AM
tv, i've always wanted to ride it car-free but always seem to miss the opening date.

so, yeah!

11-02-2008, 11:47 AM
I know that there is a similar period in Yellowstone after the snow is cleared, but before it is opened to cars. Are there any other locations nearby that enjoy a carfree time of the year? I sure would love to try some.

11-03-2008, 06:18 AM
Larch Mountain is usually passable before they open the road officially. This year it didn't open until like July or something but I rode it a week prior and it was very passable.

11-03-2008, 09:39 AM
I'm excited by your responses!

Is it legal for us to ride these roads before they are officially opened? Will the authorities want to stop us if we try?

11-03-2008, 09:53 AM
I doubt that the authorities would make much of a fuss, however, don't get into trouble out there.

Make sure that you let someone know where you are planning on going, and how/when you are planning to get there. I really don't want to hear about the body of a cyclist who died from exposure after getting hurt/lost being found on a road that was closed.

Be careful out there!

11-03-2008, 10:12 AM
What I'd really love is a sanctioned day or weekend for us. Nothing as grandiose as a funded, promoted event; but a fully legal and car-free time that could be modestly publicized.

If others want that too, how can we make it happen?

11-06-2008, 06:02 PM
tv, a couple of thoughts: Cycle Oregon top dawg Jerry Norquist lives in Sisters (just east of the pass) & would be a good guy to palaver with. It may be something the Sisters bicyclists do already... Finding someone at ODOT (since it's their road) would be a good idea, so i'd start with to Sheila Lyons, the state bike/ped coordinator, once you know what it is you're asking for.

I don't think it's in any way *illegal* to use it on a bike before it's officially opened to traffic...?

great idea, run with it! i love the concept of a "floating" event that has no time certain...

06-30-2011, 10:35 PM
Hey! Somehow, this has come to fruition. Get your bike on Route 242 now 'til the snow melts!