Mt. Thielsen Wilderness: Deschutes

Mount Thielsen Wilderness

Mt. Thielsen Wilderness encompasses 54,914 acres and runs along the crest of the Cascades 80 miles east of Roseburg and just north of Crater Lake National Park. Elevations range from 5,000 feet to the 9,182 feet summit of Mt. Thielsen. Born of the same volcanic activity that created Crater Lake, this is the land of fire and ice.

Much of the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness is made up of high alpine forests and open meadows. The terrain is moderate but becomes very steep toward the crest of the Cascade Mountains. Timberline stands at about 7,200 feet, just above a forest of mountain hemlock and fir mixed with whitebark pine. Lodgepole pine dominates the vegetation at lower elevations. The many streams in the area carry a substantial amount of snowmelt in spring. 

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail winds through the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness for 26 miles along the summit of the Cascade Range. For a more serene wilderness adventure, hike into Lake Lucille or Maidu Lake on the North Umpqua Trail #1414. The trail passes over deep pumice that was deposited when Mt. Mazama erupted to form Crater Lake. The famed North Umpqua Wild and Scenic River begins at Maidu on its long trek to the Pacific Ocean. 

At a Glance

Fees: Free permit required June 15 through October 15: self-issue wilderness permit available at the trailhead.
Permit Info: Wilderness Permits are required for both day use and overnight stays from June 15 through October 15. Free permits are self-issued at the trailhead.
Usage: Light
  • Wilderness restrictions apply
  • Use of the Fremont-Winema National Forest part of Mount Thielsen Wilderness by a group of more than 6 people and 9 pack and saddle stock is prohibited, except on Maidu Lake Trail #1446.
  • Use of Maidu Lake Trail #1446, and the Umpqua National Forest area by a group of more than 20 units, including pack and saddle stock, with a maximum of 12 people and 8 stock or 12 stock and 8 people.
    • Recommended maximum group size: 10 (people & animals).
    • Pack & Saddle animals are not permitted within 200 ft of any stream
    • Check at the Ranger Stations for fire restrictions
  • 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” deep and at least 200’ away from water.
Water: Always carry water or a way to purify water
Passes: Some trailheads require a valid recreation pass. Check our Recreation Passes and Permits page for details.
Information Center:

General Information


For the more experienced, the climb to the top of 9,182 foot Mt. Thielsen is a nice challenge. The Mount Thielsen Trail enters for approximately five miles from the west to rise above the tree line and, after 200 feet of hand-over-hand scrambling, finally reaches to within 80 feet of the summit and a breathtaking view. The summit itself requires a short technical climb. Sitting at the top of the sharp volcanic pinnacle, it is easy to see why Thielsen has been called "the lightning rod of the Cascades.

Trailhead and trail access to Mount Thielsen Wilderness at Deschutes-Ochoco National Forest:

  • Pacific Crest TrailA 34-mile segment of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail crosses the Wilderness from Tolo Mountain in the north  to near Summit Rock in the south.

See also:

Topo Maps

Burn Butte, Miller Lake, Mount Thielsen, Pumice Desert East, Tolo Mountain. 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.


Day Hiking


Horse Riding