Special Places


Salt Creek Falls The Willamette National Forest is filled with Special Places, too numerous to list all.  We've used this page to feature places -- often groups of areas --  that offer a special type of experience.  There are many more.


Out & About 

Perches & Peaks

Follow the Water

Highlighted Areas

Waldo Lake Area

Lying high on the western slopes of the Oregon Cascades, Waldo Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Oregon (9.8 square miles with a maximum depth of 427 feet). Waldo is one of the purest lakes in the world. It has no permanent inlet to bring nutrients into the lake for plant growth. The lack of plant life contributes to its purity. You can see to depths of 120 feet on a calm day. See more photos.

View more popular lakes and rivers

Jefferson Park Area - Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

The Jefferson Park area within the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness is an incredibly popular destination, providing iconic views of Mt. Jefferson, alpine lakes and abundant wildflowers. Backpacking, day hiking and mountaineering are the most common forms of recreation in the area during the short summer season. Opportunities for nature photography also abound.

Mt. Jefferson and Park Ridge are the dominant features of the Jefferson Park area. Mt. Jefferson's slopes are mantled by five glaciers: Whitewater, Waldo, Milk Creek, Russell and Jefferson Park. Jefferson Park proper consists of sensitive subalpine meadows and lakes with an extremely short growing season. Vegetation is dwarfed with old-growth mountain hemlock the size of most 10-20 year old conifers. Other geographic features include steep talus slopes, rock outcrops and alpine meadows.

To assist in planning an overnight trip into the Jefferson Park area, take time to review the Jefferson Park vicinity map, map of Bays, Scout, Rock and Park Lakes , which includes 26 designated campsites or view the Russell Lake map for four additional designated campsites. If camping within 250 feet of any of the lakes in Jefferson Park you must camp within a designated site.

The sensitive meadows and fragile vegetation of Jefferson Park’s subalpine ecosystem take decades of recovery once damaged. With the popularity of Jefferson Park, please help protect this area and preserve the experience for you and for future visitors. ''Leave No Trace'' techniques are encouraged, including properly disposing of human and pet waste and carrying out all trash. When making a campsite selection, never camp on vegetation - select a pre-existing hardened campsite. The best campsites are found not made. Click here for more Leave No Trace information.

Visitors should obtain a detailed map of the area before planning a trip, and inquire in advance about trail conditions, particularly early in the season. Jefferson Park can hold substantial snow well into June/July on an average snow year, so plan your trip accordingly.

Know Before You Go

  • Maximum group size is 12 people and 12 head of stock.
  • Campfires are not permitted within the boundaries of Jefferson Park.
  • Click here to read special regulations unique to the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area.
  • Stock users must use weed-free feed; click here for more information.
  • There are no facilities within the Jefferson Park area or the Wilderness area.