Dee Wright Observatory is an observation structure at the summit of McKenzie Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. The structure is an open shelter constructed with lava stone. It is located in the midst of a large lava flow, and offers an exceptional view of numerous Cascade peaks.
Many peaks can easily be seen from Dee Wright Observatory: Mount Jefferson, Cache Mountain, Dugout Butte, Black Butte, Bluegrass Butte, Black Crater, North Sister, Middle Sister, Little Brother (and ridge west), Condon Butte, Scott Mountain, South Belknap Cone, Belknap Crater, Little Belknap, and Mount Washington. Mount Hood, Bald Peter, Green Ridge, and Horsepasture Mountain can also be seen from the observatory during good weather.
McKenzie Pass follows the path of an 1860 wagon route. The route emerges from the forest and crosses a 65-square-mile lava flow. At the summit, the wagon road had to be cut through the lava beds. As a result, alternate routes over the Cascades were used by most early travelers. Today’s highway follows the wagon route over the lava beds past the observatory site.
The observatory was built during the Great Depression by a Civilian Conservation Corps crew at Camp Belknap near Clear Lake. It was completed in 1935, and named for the construction crew’s foreman who had died the previous year after serving 24 years as a Forest Service packer and crew foreman at Camp Belknap.
This image consists of 60 20sec exposures stacked in Photoshop to provide startrails.