Wilderness: William O. Douglas


William O. Douglas Wilderness.

The William O. Douglas Wilderness was designated in 1984 and encompasses 168,956 acres, most of which is a part of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. This Wilderness is named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas who was noted for his concern for civil rights and environmental protection issues during his career. Douglas made his home at Goose Prairie, adjacent to the Wilderness near Bumping River, and immortalized the area in his popular book, "Of Men and Mountains." 

While significant portions of the William O. Douglas Wilderness are high elevation forest, the overall topography is varied. The western peaks are characterized by high elevation lakes in a forested setting, and the eastern slopes drop to mid-elevation pine forest, alpine peaks, bare ridges, and exposed basalt tables and points. The southern portion of the Wilderness spreads out into a large plateau, where the forest thins and 59 lakes lie among another 200 or so ponds and pools. Members of large herds of elk and mule deer reside here with fishers, foxes, mountain goats and grouse. 

As much as 120 inches of precipitation per year falls on the western side of the area, while the eastern side may get as little as 20 to 24 inches. Snow usually starts to fall by November, and often lingers in patches in higher elevations until mid-summer. Many trails cross the William O. Douglas Wilderness which ranges in elevation from 3,00 to 7,000 feet. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, which extends from Mexico to Canada, runs along the 27 mile crest of this Wilderness.

At a Glance

Permit Info: Wilderness permits are required for entry into all Gifford Pinchot National Forest Wilderness areas. The self-issuing permits are free and are available at all trailheads leading into these Wildernesses, and at Forest Service Ranger Stations.
  • Wilderness Regulations Apply
  • No campfires are permitted at Dewey Lake. 
  • Please camp at least 100 feet from lakes and the Pacific Crest Trail to protect fragile vegetation.
Passes: Some trailheads require a valid recreation pass. Check our Recreation Passes and Permits page for details.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


The William O. Douglas Wilderness is located in the southern Washington Cascade mountain crest between White Pass (Highway 12) and Chinook Pass (Highway 410) and east of Mt. Rainier National Park.

Trailheads/trails that access William O Douglas Wilderness within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest 

Other trails within William O. Douglas Wilderness within Gifford Pinchot National Forest

See also: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest William O. Douglas Wilderness information.

Topo Maps

Bumping Lake, Cougar Lake, Goose Prairie, Meeks Table, Norse Peak, Old Scab Mountain, Rimrock Lake, Spiral Butte, Timberwolf Mountain, White Pass. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the National Forest Store.


Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.



Show detail SHOW


Show detail SHOW

Horse Riding & Camping

Show detail SHOW

Nature Viewing

Show detail SHOW
Areas & Activities
Click for NW Recreation App info

Download Our Official Recreation App! Link opens in a new window