Wildernesses in Mt. Hood National Forest

Mount Hood from Lower White River Wilderness

The Wilderness Act of 1964 created federal wildernesses (subsequently designated by Congress) to be protected and preserved in their natural condition, without permanent improvements, roads, or habitation. 

Please review wilderness regulations on Wilderness Connect and always use Leave No Trace techniques to help keep these areas wild, clean, and pristine.

Mt. Hood National Forest is about one-third wilderness: 311,448 acres. Over 124,000 acres of this total was designated as wilderness in 2009. Learn more about visiting the forest's eight wildernesses:

Check out this map showing all 8 wildernesses in the Forest!

Know Before You Go!

  • Wilderness regulations: Know all regulations that apply to Wilderness areas nationally as well as those specific to the Mt. Hood National Forest. 
  • Wilderness permits: The Forest Service uses wilderness permits to monitor wilderness use, set trail maintenance priorities, and plan work priorities.
    • Wilderness permits are required from May 15 to October 15 when provided at a portal. Not all trails will have Wilderness portals. 
    • Climbers in Mount Hood Wilderness must have a wilderness permit year-round.
    • Wilderness permits are free and self-issued by the visitor and are available at multiple trailheads leading into these wildernesses, as well as at ranger district offices. 
  • Ice caves: Please stay out of ice caves. Ice caves are unstable and are not managed or inspected for hazards and many have very limited access and no outside communications. These temporary formations are formed by meltwater channels, making them particularly dangerous during warm weather. 
  • Safety information: Driving on forest roads, the 10 Essentials, camping, backpacking and hiking, wildlife, hypothermia, etc.

Finding a Place to Visit

Each year, more and more people visit wilderness for a unique experience. Consider plannning a trip mid-week and in the early and late seasons. For assistance in finding alternatives to the most heavily used areas, check with your nearest forest office.

When visiting wilderness, please follow the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors