Mount Washington Wilderness: Deschutes


Mount Washington Wilderness

Mt. Washington rises above 75 square miles of lava-strewn plains which includes Belknap Crater, a 6,873 foot cinder and ash volcanic cone. This 54,278 acre Wilderness is a rugged retreat, primarily used by hunters, hikers, and mountain climbers. There are 28 lakes in the Wilderness.

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail extends for 16.6 miles through the Mt. Washington Wilderness. It is the primary trail and extends from the north boundary near Big Lake to where it leaves the Wilderness at its southern boundary near the Dee Wright Observatory. Vegetation consists of lodgepole pine and associated species as well as mountain hemlock.


At a Glance

Current Conditions: ALERT- Dry Creek Trail has not been maintained for years and has heavy "blow down" of trees killed by wildfire throughout the forest. The 2011 Shadow Lake fire burned so hot that the trail can no longer be found in areas. This trail is under a non-maintenance condition and is not recommended.
  • Free PERMIT required Memorial Day through October 31: self-issue wilderness permit available at the trailhead.
  • 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.
Permit Info: Wilderness Permits are required for both day use and overnight stays from Memorial Day Weekend until Oct. 31.  Free permits are self-issued at the trailhead. 
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Wilderness restrictions apply
Closest Towns: Sisters, OR
Water: Always carry water or a way to purify water
Passes: Some trailheads require a recreation pass. Check our Recreation Passes & Permits page for details.
Information Center:

General Information


Trail and trailhead access to Mt Washington Wilderness

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

Topo Maps

Clear Lake, Linnton Lake, Mount Washington, North Sister. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the National Forest Store.

Go to for online maps and other important Wilderness information.



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Horse Riding & Camping

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Areas & Activities
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Mill Creek Wilderness

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