Wilderness Regulations

Questions? Call your nearest Ranger District Office to find out more.

Nationwide Wilderness Regulations

The following are prohibited in wilderness:

  • Possessing or using a motor vehicle, motorboat, or motorized equipment (including snowmobiles).
  • Possessing or using a hang glider or bicycle.
  • Landing of aircraft, or dropping or picking up of any material, supplies, or person by means of aircraft, including a helicopter.
  • Operating a drone in or over a wilderness area.
  • Fireworks are prohibited on all federal lands, including wildernesses.

Mt. Hood National Forest Wilderness Regulations

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 in their possession year-round when on the south side climbing route of Mt. Hood. Permits are available at the Wy'East Timberline Day Lodge.
  • 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. 

The following are prohibited in wilderness:

  • Groups larger than 12 comprised of any combination people and pack or saddle stock.
  • Shortcutting trail switchbacks.
  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a campfire within 100 foot slope distance of any permanent lake, stream, spring, pond or system trail.
  • Hitching, tethering, picketing, or securing any pack or saddle stock within 200 feet slope distance of any permanent lake, stream, spring, pond or shelter.
  • Motorized equipment and mechanized equipment such as bicycles, wagons, carts, or wheelbarrows (except wheelchairs).
  • Entering any area posted as closed for rehabilitation. These areas have been closed to allow recovery.
  • Cutting or damaging any live tree or vegetation except as authorized.
  • Caching or storing equipment, personal property or supplies within Wilderness for more than 48 hours.
  • Gathering a forest product, for example mushrooms and berries, except for personal on-site use.
  • Commercial use of wilderness except by special use permit.
  • Camping within 100 feet of any lake or the Pacific Crest Trail #2000.
  • Camping in dispersed sites for over 14 consecutive days. (After 14 days of camping at a site you must leave and may not return for 30 days and may not exceed 28 days in calendar year.)

Wilderness-Specific Regulations

View comprehensive information and additional area specific regulations by wilderness:

Weed-free feed required

Weed-free feed is required on all national forest lands in Oregon and Washington.

Firearms on National Forest lands

 Regulations prohibit discharging a firearm:

  • In or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area,
  • Across or on roads or bodies of water, or where people or property are exposed to injury or damage,
  • Into a cave, and
  • Into areas that cause resource damage. Don’t shoot trees, rocks, stumps, or non-game animals.

Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine or imprisonment (16 U.S.C. 551, 18 U.S.C. 3559 and 3571).