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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
0.65 mi (1.05 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

Following an 1860 wagon trail, the McKenzie Pass sits at 5,325 feet and cuts through a 65-square-mile lava bed. During the Great Depression, an observatory was built from the lava rock as part of a 1935 Civilian Conservation Corps project. The Dee Wright Observatory was named from a worker who had died during it's construction.

The Dee Wright Observatory provides majestic, panoramic views of 17 different mountain peaks and two craters. Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, North Sister and Middle Sister, and Black Butte are the most visible features, while views to other peaks depend on clarity of the sky. On the top you will find a bronze compass-like "peak finder" that denotes the directions and distances to the various mountain peaks. Inside the observatory, you can look through dedicated portals in the walls that are directed toward the individual mountains.

The observatory is a trailhead for a short and informative paved walk through the lava beds. Along this route you'll find many interpretive signs that denote significant geological structures and the rich natural history of the area. The observatory has good parking and clean restrooms. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Amazing panoramic views. Historic landmark.

Cons

Crowds. Long drive.

Trailhead Elevation

5,160.00 ft (1,572.77 m)

Net Elevation Gain

125.00 ft (38.10 m)

Address

OR-242
OR 97413
United States

Features

Historically significant
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

07.07.18
Enough parking, short hike to the observatory
08.25.18
This is a great place for viewing mountains and stars. Do yourself a favor and be here late at night for some milkyway action. Can get crowded with photographers on clear sky nights.

Here is a video showing some great views from Dee Wright:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIs7Wpvmr60
Avoid the crowds by traveling in the shoulder season, before the gate closes for winter. Bonus, snow on lava!
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