Sunday Snapshot: Glorious Fall Foliage in McKenzie Bridge

Real Estate Agent with Cascade Sotheby's International Realty

Fall Foliage in Lane County - View from Horse Creek Road Trail

Last year at about this time, Jack and I ventured out on one of those spur-of-the-moment day trips that too often end up a disappointment Luckily, we had the opposite experience. The idea was just to drive the McKenzie Pass/Santiam Pass loop (which I wrote about in this earlier blog), and see where we landed. It proved to be the absolute perfect day.

We had no idea the fall colors would be so spectacular in Lane County, but they were top-notch (in fact, I was surprised to learn this morning, there's actually a statewide Fall Foliage hotline based there: 1-800-547-5445).

Our route: After driving through Sisters and up Highway 20, we headed west on Highway 126 until we reached the town of McKenzie Bridge. The highlight there was exploring the Horse Creek Road Trail, which winds up a butte for about nine miles and offers some breathtaking views of the surrounding area below and Cascade Mountains beyond. Seeing the fall foliage in peak form was a bonus.

This weekend, we vowed to make the trek an annual event. The only difference was, we took our good friends Bob and Gayle along for the ride. Just so happens Bob grew up in that area, so he was the perfect guide.

And this time, we headed out Highway 242 (which only a few days earlier was closed temporarily because of a  rock slide), and stopped first at the Dee Wright Observatory, then wandered up Foley Ridge before heading back to Horse Creek Road. There, we explored a few scenic side roads, finally ending up several hours later at  Cougar Reservoir. Crossing the Cougar Dam, with its 450-foot drop-off below, provided the day's only harrowing (but admittedly exhilarating) moment.

We headed home just as it was getting dark. Below are a few of the day's highlights.

Fall Foliage in Lane County


Fall Foliage in Lane County - vine maple


Fall Foliage in Lane County - Bracken fern


Fall Foliage in Lane County -


Fall Foliage in Lane County - Gayle on Horse Creek

 About the Author:
Lisa Broadwater
is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling rural acreage, especially horse properties. If you'd like to learn more about Central Oregon, please visit

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