At the summit of the pass, Oregon Route 242 crosses a 65-square-mile (170 km2) lava flow just west of Sisters. Surrounded by lava, the Dee Wright Observatory was constructed in 1935 by Civilian Conservation Corps workers and named after their foreman. Visitors climb to the observatory to view the Cascade peaks visible from McKenzie Pass. Also near the summit is Clear Lake, a renowned location for fresh-water diving.
Highway 242 is not recommended for large trucks, trailers or motor homes due to numerous tight switchbacks. The pass is closed from November to July due to snow.