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Historic McKenzie Pass Hwy 242 closes for winter Monday at dawn

A recent view from Highway 242. (ODOT)

BEND, Ore. - A historic highway that traces a scenic route across the Oregon Cascades will close for the winter at dawn Monday, the Oregon Department of Transportation said Friday.

"With snow in the Oregon Cascades predicted over the next week, maintenance managers with the Oregon Department of Transportation have made the decision to close the Old McKenzie Pass Highway, OR 242, for the winter/snow season effective Monday, November 5 at dawn," ODOT said in a statement.

That means this is the highway's final weekend.

If you go, use caution.

"It’s always drive at your own risk," Peter Murphy with ODOT said. "I’d keep a close eye on the weather though. Snow and cold temps are a good sign to turn around."

The historic highway winds its way between Sisters and Highway 126W past the Dee Wright Observatory and a stunning view of the High Cascades.

But it closes each year in winter.

ODOT records show the highway has closed due to snow as early as October 18 back in 1996. The latest closure for snow happened January 10, 1939.

Last year, damage from wildfires caused the highway to close early and remain closed for the winter. The highway reopened in June.

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