McKenzie Pass Wagon Road, OR
The McKenzie Pass wagon road was constructed as a way to reach Central Oregon from the Southern Willamette Valley. The road extended from Eugene up the McKenzie River Valley, over the lava beds at McKenzie pass and on to the Camp Sherman and Sisters area. The old route is mostly the same as the modern highway, with the exception of a few spectacular sections that are away from the current route and look much as they did when abandoned in the mid-1920's.
This particular road is unique in that the roadbed is built across the lava, a feat that required chipping and smoothing lava rocks over great distances. Fortunately for those of us visiting much later, this method of construction is fairly permanent so the road remains today, very much the same as it was over 100 years ago. Other interesting features of the road at McKenzie pass included a large rockpile ramp at the edge of the lava bed leading onto the road, poles from an old telephone line that still stand, and areas where wagon wheels have worn rocks smooth. This is all surrounded by amazing views of the high cascades in this area, and more localized lava vents from which the lava at McKenzie pass originated. These include the Three Sisters, Mt Washington, Belknap crater, Little Belknap crater, and Black Crater.
Copyright 2004 Garrett J. Keeton.
All rights reserved.