Description - Mt. Washington rises above 75 square miles of lava-strewn plains. This is a geological wonderland which includes Belknap Crater, a 6,872 foot cinder and ash volcanic cone. This is a rugged retreat, primarily used by hunters, hikers, and mountain climbers. There are 28 lakes in the Wilderness.
- Vegetation consists of lodgepole pine and associated species as well as mountain hemlock.
High-Use Areas: Tenas Lake, Patjens Lakes and Benson Lake. Compared with the adjacent Mt. Jefferson and Three Sisters Wildernesses, recreational use in the Mt. Washington Wilderness is low. Total Area: 52,516 acres. Elevation: 3,000 ft to 7,794 ft.
Recreation - The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail extends for 17 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.
Climate - With its huge elevation range, climate on the Deschutes changes drastically depending on elevation. The high elevations receive much more precipitation and colder temperatures. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April, mostly in the form of snow in the higher elevations. Winter temperatures can drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days, with warm to hot temperatures at the low elevations and moderate temperatures at the higher elevations. Summer afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon.
The Mt. Washington Wilderness is located west of Sisters, Oregon on the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests. 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.