Dee Wright Observatory located at the summit of McKenzie Pass on McKenzie Highway, State Route 242 is built of lava rocks from the surrounding lava flow and provides views of the surrounding Cascade Mountain peaks.
Not all viewpoints are created equal; some may not even be worth the effort to unbuckle everyone from their car seats and climb over books and bags piled on the vehicle's floor. However, the Dee Wright Observatory, a viewpoint located atop the summit of the Old McKenzie Highway is worth the unbuckling, climbing, and clamoring out of the car.
The views are of the incredible Cascade Mountain peaks through ancient lava beds. The best views can be found atop the Dee Wright Observatory; an observation shelter built with the same lava stone that surrounds the summit. My 3 year old thought that the observatory was a castle and loved walking the stairs and trail up to the top. She loved it so much, we actually had to walk up to the top of the observatory twice during our visit.
There are some short trails leading through the lava fields that are definitely worth the time to walk. During our visit, new interpretive signs were being built along the pathway. Unfortunately the signs weren't yet completed, but we enjoyed the walk regardless.
I would highly recommend taking the time and effort to park your vehicle and enjoy this fabulous viewpoint on the Old McKenzie Highway. The views are amazing, the short trails are nice, and the lava stone castle is a 3 year old's dream.