Mt. Jefferson Wilderness: Deschutes

Mount Jefferson Wilderness

Mt. Jefferson (10,497 feet) is the dominant feature of this High Cascades area, along with Three Fingered Jack (7,841 feet). Mt. Jefferson's slopes are mantled by five glaciers: Whitewater, Waldo, Milk Creek, Russell, and Jefferson Park. Other geographic features include steep talus slopes, rock outcrops, and alpine meadows. There are over 150 lakes, many stocked with trout.

Mt. Jefferson Wilderness covers 109,082 total acres. There are 163 miles of trail within this wilderness including a 40 mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Scenic Trail.

Vegetation is predominantly Douglas-fir, silver fir, sub-alpine fir, mountain hemlock, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, several species of cedar as well as species like vine maple, huckleberry and rhododendron.

  • Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Georeferenced Permit Map

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    This map highlights which trailheads require a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit for day use and those trailheads with day use opportunities requiring a free, self-issue permit at the trailhead.


At a Glance

Current Conditions: BEWARE!  Since 2003 Brush Ck, Minto Lake, Sugar Pine Ridge Trails and northern sections of Summit Trail have been in a "no current maintenance" condition. With heavy blowdown, dense brush, lack of identifiable trail surface and erosion due to B and B Fire damage, these trails are considered impassable and are not recommended. In recent years several hikers have reported becoming lost trying to follow these trails from the west, with a few turning into search and rescue missions.
  • Visitors to the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three Sisters Wilderness areas require a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit for all overnight use and some require one for day-use.
  • For current fire closures on the Willamette National Forest please visit their website.
Fees: Trails in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area require a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit for ALL overnight use and SOME require one for day-use. 
  • Day and Overnight visitors: Central Cascades Wilderness Permit required for ALL overnight and SOME day-use sites between June 15 and October 15.
  • processing fees are $1/permit for day use, $6/permit for group/overnight use.
  • Reserve a permit at or by calling 1-877-444-6777. 
Permit Info: There are two types of entry permits required between June 15 and October 15 for entering all designated wilderness areas.
  • Central Cascades Wilderness Permits are required between June 15 and October 15 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. Check out for more information.
  • At all other wilderness areas, free, unlimited self-issue permits at trailheads are required from June 15 and October 15.
  • Wilderness restrictions apply
  • Campfires are prohibited above 5,700 feet and within these lake basins:
    • Marion Lake
    • Ann Lake
    • Table Lake
  • Motorized and mechanical equipment (including bicycles and drones) are prohibited in the wilderness.
  • Groups must be under 12 people and 12 head of stock.
  • Build campfires at least 100 feet away from water.
  • Pack in / Pack out!
  • “Take only pictures, leave only footprints” — please refrain from cutting, damaging, or gathering vegetation or other forest items, i.e. rocks, etc.
  • Please bury human waste 6-8 inches deep and at least 200 feet away from water.
Water: Always carry water or a way to purify water
Passes: Some trailheads in this wilderness require a recreation pass. Check out the Recreation Passes & Permits page for details on getting a pass.
Information Center:

General Information


Trail and trailhead access to Mount Jefferson Wilderness:

Near Sisters, OR and Highway 20:

See also: Willamette National Forest information about Mount Jefferson Wilderness.

Topo Maps

Breitenbush Hotsprings, Candle Creek, Lions Head, Marian Forks, Marion Lake, Mt Bruno, Mt Jefferson, Olallie Butte, Santiam Junction, Three Fingered Jack. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) map store:

Go to for online maps and other important Wilderness information.

General Notes:

Know Before You Go

  • All overnight and some day use visitors to the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness must carry a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit if visiting between June 15 and October 15.
  • Learn about Wilderness Regulations, including special area regulations in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.
  • ''Leave No Trace'' techniques are encouraged in Wilderness areas, including properly disposing of human and pet waste and carrying out all trash.
  • There are no facilities within the Jefferson Park area or the Wilderness area.
  • Find out about the Weed Free Feed Requirement and other good Know Before You Go tips.
  • Campfires are prohibited above 5,700 feet and within these lake basins:
    • Marion Lake
    • Ann Lake
    • Table Lake


Day Hiking


Horse Riding