Description - Administered by the Forest Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Willamette National Forest stretches for 110 miles (177 kilometers) along the western slopes of the Cascades. The Forest is 1.6 million acres (682,343 hectares) in size and extends from the Mt. Jefferson area east of Salem to the Calapooya Mountains northeast of Roseburg. The Willamette National Forest is known for its numerous volcanic peaks, the forested Cascade Range, and its outstanding rivers. Accessed by four major highways, the Forest is within a day's drive from anywhere in western and central Oregon. The Forest's headquarters (called the Supervisor's Office) is located in Eugene, OR.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Willamette National Forest
- Designated scenic routes are Clackamas-Breitenbush Road, McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Loop, Aufderheide Memorial Drive, Quartzville Creek Road, and Diamond Drive. Two Forest highways, Aufderheide Memorial Drive and the McKenzie Pass/Santiam Pass Loop, are National Scenic Byways. Over 6,400 miles of road on the Forest offer a chance to get off the beaten path.
About 380,000 acres of the Forest is designated as wilderness. Seven major volcanic peaks in the Cascades -- Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Diamond Peak, North, Middle and South Sisters -- are within these wildernesses. Entry permits are required for all wildernesses for both day and overnight trips. Recreation opportunities are abundant, as long as the activities are "light on the land" and consistent with the Wilderness Act.
The Oregon Cascades Recreation Area lies adjacent to the Diamond Peak Wilderness. The 157,000 acre area includes portions of the Willamette, Umpqua and Deschutes National Forests. It is managed to provide a wide range of recreational opportunities, including motorized use in some portions.
There are over 1,500 miles of rivers and streams on the Forest and over 375 lakes, including many at elevations above 4,000 feet. The forest has two rivers designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers, the McKenzie River and the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River.
Recreation - The Willamette National Forest offers a wide variety of recreation opportunities during summer and winter months. Its central location makes it accessible to day-trippers and vacationers alike.
The Forest's predominant features are the focal points of recreation activities. Four of the seven wildernesses on the Willamette Forest are centered around the volcanoes and the diverse and pristine nature of the lands surrounding them.
The Cascade Range of mountains offer recreationists virtually endless opportunities for forest-related activities. Developed campgrounds, trails, Scenic Byways, and ski resorts are but a few of the facilities available for use. Outdoor recreation activities not associated with developed facilities are limited only by one's imagination.
The Willamette Forest's rivers, streams and lakes are perhaps the most important features for recreationists. The clarity and quality of water and the scenic environs in which it occurs greatly enhance visitors' experiences. Virtually all of the featured trails, roads, developed campgrounds, and viewpoints are associated with outstanding rivers, streams or lakes.
Climate - Elevations on the Forest range from about 1,500 feet above sea level to 10,495 feet at the snowcapped top of Mt. Jefferson, Oregon's second highest peak. Climate on the Willamette changes with elevation. The area receives a high amount of precipitation. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April in the form of rain at the low elevations and as wet heavy snow in the higher elevations. Although snow is possible in the lowest elevations, it is infrequent. Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days with moderate temperatures.
The Willamette National Forest, in west-central Oregon, stretches for 110 miles along the western slopes of the Cascades from the Mt. Jefferson area east of Salem to the Calapooya Mountains northeast of Roseburg. The Willamette National Forest is easily accessed from the Salem, Albany, and Eugene areas of the Willamette Valley. Four important highways-U.S. Route 20 and Oregon State Routes 22, 58, and 126 cross the Forest.