Mt. Washington Wilderness: Willamette
Mt. Washington rises above 75 square miles of lava-strewn plains. This is a geological wonderland which includes Belknap Crater, a 6,873 foot cinder and ash volcanic cone. There are 28 lakes in the Wilderness.
Mt. Washington Wilderness area covers 54,278 total acres. 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.
Know Before You Go
- All overnight and some day-use visitors to the Mt. Washington 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. Washington 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 Mt. Washington Wilderness.
- Find out about the Weed Free Feed Requirement and other good Know Before You Go tips.
At a Glance
|Fees:||Trails in the Mt. Washington 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. Recreation.gov processing fees are $1/permit for day use, $6/permit for group/overnight use. Reserve a permit at Recreation.gov 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.
|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:||McKenzie River Ranger District|
Access: From the north take State Hwy. 20 to Forest Road 2690 (Big Lake). Follow to Big Lake West Campground and Patjens Lake Trail #3395. From south take State Hwy. 242 (McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway). Pacific Trail #2000 is to the west of Dee Wright Observatory. Benson Lake Trail #3502 and Hand Lake Trail #3513 are off Scott Lake Road 260.
For trail information see:
- Big Lake Campground
- Big Lake Day Use Area
- Big Lake West Campground
- Sahalie & Koosah Falls
- Dee Wright Observatory
- Mt. Jefferson Wilderness
- Three Sisters Wilderness
Clear Lake, Linnton Lake, Mount Washington, North Sister. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps here.
Buy maps online
Go to the National Forest Store.
Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Alerts & Warnings
- FIRE CLOSURES: Cedar Creek, Beachie Creek & Lionshead, Holiday Farm, Potter, etc
- Forest Road 46 open for 11 miles; portion closed to vehicle traffic
- Pile Burning November-March 2023
- Helicopter Operations Near McKenzie Bridge Oct. 19-Feb. 1
- Carmen Diversion Reservoir closed through 2023