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McKenzie Pass Closing For Winter

Bend, Ore. – The snow is here, and it’s time to close the Old McKenzie Pass Highway, OR 242, for the winter season.

On the morning of Tuesday, November 1, crews will close the highway from the western gate at OR 126 to the eastern gate just outside of Sisters.

McKenzie Pass is a secondary, scenic highway. Weather, cost, and logistics make it impractical to maintain for travel year-round. In the winter, we focus our staff and resources on main highways to keep them plowed, open, and safe. 

When the highway is closed, it is closed to all users and is not maintained. Travelers going past locked gates and closure signs could encounter hazards and working equipment on the road, and there are no services or cell coverage. 

Every year, McKenzie Pass opens and closes with the seasons. Dates vary depending on road and weather conditions. 

McKenzie Pass became a seasonal scenic highway in 1962 with the completion of the Clear Lake-Belknap Springs section of Oregon 126. Even during its time as the main route between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon, the narrow, twisting roadway and high elevation (5,325 feet) made the highway too difficult to maintain and keep clear during the winter months.

To see what routes are open over the mountains, and to view current road and weather conditions visit or call 511.

More information on McKenzie Pass, OR 242, can be found on our website





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