Wilderness

Mt Jefferson WildernessThe Willamette National Forest has eight wildernesses which total 380,805 acres. These areas, the majority of which encompass seven major mountain peaks in the Cascades, are popular with hikers, backpackers, and mountain climbers. Maps are available for these areas.

The Forest Service began administering some of the National Forest System lands to preserve their primitive character as early as 1930. The Wilderness System was established by Congress in 1964 "for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such a manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness." (The Wilderness Act, 1964)

These wildernesses exhibit evidence of the forces of nature, with the imprint of human work unnoticeable. They offer outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive, unconfined recreation. Entry is by foot or horseback. Mechanized or wheeled equipment is prohibited.


View Larger Map

Know Before You Go

Visiting the Wilderness: Drinking water, hunting & fishing, mountain climbing, weather, firedanger, and tips on what to do if you get lost in the Wilderness

Wilderness Regulations: A list of prohibited activites in wilderness areas

Recreation Passes & Permits: Information about the different types of free and paid permits required in the Willamette National Forest's wilderness areas including Wilderness Permits and trailhead passes.

Leave No Trace: Outdoor skills & ethics

Wilderness Permits: Entry permits are required between Memorial Day and October 31 for entering all wildernesses in the Willamette National Forest. Most of the permits are self-issuing at trailheads, but limited entry permits are required for the Pamelia Lake (Mt. Jefferson Wilderness) and Obsidian (Three Sisters Wilderness) areas.

Special Restrictions: In some heavily used and highly impacted areas, camping and fire restrictions are in place. Forest Service offices can provide this information and can recommend areas which offer greater opportunities for solitude.

Weed Free Feed is required for all stock for National Forests in the Pacific Northwest. Find out more on our Know Before You Go page.