Dixie Pass – Bad Roads for RVs

Dixie Pass – Bad Roads for RVs

Dixie Pass – Bad Roads for RVs is on the John Day Highway (U.S. Highway 26) east of Prairie City Oregon. This is a steep windy road and should be avoided in the winter.

Of course, you could say that RVs should avoid traveling in the winter, in the middle of eastern Oregon, and I would agree. This advice goes double for steep roads in the winter.

The road is tight with multiple sections of steep grades. There are sharp turns and drop-offs without guard rails for most of the route. Most of the time there are no shoulders or pull-outs to allow faster vehicles to pass.

Oregon Department of Transportation Tripcheck Interactive Map

Here are our blog entries for our trip across Dixie Pass. More cattle than people.


Elevation: 5280 feet

Length: 12 miles

Terrain: Numerous 4-5% descents and one 6% westbound descent. The terrain is steeper near the top of Dixie Pass.

Turns: Numerous turns, for the entire route

Rest Stops & Turnouts: Several small pull-outs. At the Dixie Pass Summit, there is the Dixie Butte Snow Park with a small amount of parking. East from the summit there are numerous forest road crossings the next true place to stop is in Bates. Westbound from the summit there is the Sumpter Valley Interpretive Trailhead parking and the Strawberry Mountain Range and John Day River Valley Overlook.

Runaway truck ramps: None

Eastbound the climb to Dixie Pass Summit is gradual and gets steeper towards the top. The descent starts with 5-6% for about two miles. After that, the descent isn’t as steep.

Westbound the climb to Dixie Pass Summit starts gradually and builds toward the summit. Westbound the descent from Dixie Pass Summit starts steep at 6% grade and with multiple 40 mile-per-hour curves. The descent is rolling and has three flatter sections.

Dixie Pass – Bad Roads for RVs

We traveled the John Day Highway in our motor home from east to west in May 2020 without difficulty. An alternate route would be U.S. Highway 20 but this highway has its own set of difficult sections. We have traveled both sections without difficulties and overall, in good conditions would recommend the John Day Highway based only on its beauty and vistas.

A stop at the Strawberry Mountain Range and John Day River Valley Overlook is nearly mandatory and very pretty.

Here is our link to our interactive map. Bad Roads for RVs

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *