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.

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

Leave No Trace: Outdoor skills & ethics

Wilderness Permits: Visitors need a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit or a self-issuing permit, depending on the trip.

  • There are two types of entry permits required between the Friday of Memorial Day and October 31 for entering all wildernesses in the Willamette National Forest.
  • Central Cascades Wilderness Permits are required between the Friday of Memorial Day and the last Friday in September for all overnight use in the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three Sisters Wilderness areas. Some day use in these wilderness areas also require these permits.
  • At all other wilderness areas and outside the Central Cascade Wilderness Permit season, free, unlimited self-issue permits at trailheads are required.

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.