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Top 5 National Forests in Oregon:
Explore the Best of the Beaver State’s Wildlands

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The Pacific Midwest is full of untouched, natural beauty. It is full of national forests protected for their support of our environment and their beauty. Oregon is home to over 16 million acres of forested land.

The natural beauty of Oregon is not just because of the forests, but also because of the breathtaking landscapes. After all, Oregon is full of mountains, waterfalls, cliffs, and valleys.

Below, we will highlight the top 5 national forests in Oregon, their features, and some tips for visiting them. Each forest has its own features and attractions that make it unique. Whether you are an avid hiker or just love the wilderness, Oregon is the perfect place to visit.

Top 5 National Forests in Oregon - mount hood national forest

Mount Hood is one of the most popular national forests in Oregon. It is named after the highest peak in Oregon which is located within the boundaries of the national forest. After all, Mount Hood is a dormant volcano and measures over 11,000 feet. There are hiking trails across the mountain and ski trails in the winter.

The Timberline Lodge is a remote destination for hundreds of skiers and snowboarders every year. It was established in the 1930s and continues to be a popular destination year-round.

Altogether, the forest covers over one million acres. With so much land, any nature enthusiast can find an activity to do. In fact, Mount Hood National Forest offers camping, skiing, fishing, and hiking.

Oregon Sweatshirt Landscape
Oregon Sweatshirt

On the other hand, Mount Hood National Forest is home to the Columbia River Gorge. You can choose from several hiking trails to view the gorge and multiple waterfalls.

While visiting Mount Hood National Forest, you can also visit Trillium Lake for camping and fishing and the Pacific Crest Trail.

Mount Hood National Forest is in northern Oregon. Visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing. The forest has over 80 campgrounds, as well as many backcountry camping opportunities.

Willamette National Forest

Top 5 National Forests in Oregon - willamette national forest

Willamette National Forest is in western Oregon. It is larger than Mount Hood National Forest and measures 1.6 million acres. It is named after the river, Willamette River, that runs through the boundaries.

Inside Willamette National Forest, you will find several wilderness areas divided by peaks. The Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area is home to the second-highest peak in Oregon, Mount Jefferson.

On the eastern part of the forest, you will find the Opal Creek Wilderness Area where you can witness several waterfalls and ancient trees.

Finally, in the southern section of the national forest, you can visit the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. The Three Sisters are three volcanic peaks huddled together all standing over 10,000 feet in height.

If hiking is not your activity of choice, you can still experience Williamette National Forest through camping and fishing. Additionally, Willamette supports visitors by car with roads for scenic drives. The forest has over 70 developed campgrounds, as well as many backcountry camping opportunities.

Deschutes National Forest

Top 5 National Forests in Oregon - deschutes national forest

The Deschutes National Forest is in central Oregon and is the largest national forest at 1.8 million acres in size. With so much land, this national forest is comprised of volcanic peaks, deep canyons, ample trees, and waterways.

The Deschutes National Forest is named after the Deschutes River that flows through it. Visitors love to utilize the river for rafting, kayaking, and fishing. Along the river, you can also picnic and camp.

If you love fly fishing, the Metolius River within the Deschutes National Forest is the perfect place. The river is full of trout and the water is clear and cold.

When visiting this national forest, you can visit the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. It is home to a mile-long lava tube called Lava River Cave. Additionally, there are two volcanic peaks. Experienced hikers can reach the summit of Paulina Peak for panoramic views of the forest below.

Oregon Pillow
Orgeon Pillow

Like the other national forests on this list, visitors can play a ski trip to Deschutes National Forest. Mount Bachelor is a popular skiing destination with over 4000 acres of skiable terrain.

Overall, the Deschutes National Forest is a popular destination for hiking, fly fishing, and camping. Winter sports are also popular recreational activities. The forest has over 150 developed campgrounds, as well as many backcountry camping opportunities. The forest also has several visitor centers, where visitors can get information about the area and purchase maps.

You can also drive through much of the forest to see the beauty of the forest from the safety and ease of your car.

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

Top 5 National Forests in Oregon - Rogue River NF

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is a vast expanse of protected land located in southwestern Oregon. The forest is named after the two rivers that flow through it, the Rogue River and the Siskiyou Fork.

This national forest is well-known for its hiking trails and water sports. After all, the Rogue-River-Siskiyou National Forest is home to over 200 hiking trails. Many of these trails follow along the rivers and boast wonderous views.

You will be amazed by the wildlife through the forest including black bears, mountain lions, elk, and bald eagles. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from designated areas or while hiking through the forest.

With two beautiful rivers, this national forest is a wonderful place to fish, raft, and kayak. In fact, the Rogue River is known for its steelhead and salmon runs. You can also find trout fishing locations in the national forest.

The forest offers a wide range of camping options, including developed campgrounds, primitive campsites, and backcountry camping. Some of the most popular campgrounds include Indian Mary, Almeda, and Squaw Flat.

Oregon Ornament
Oregon Ornament
Top 5 National Forests in Oregon - Umpqua National Forest

Umpqua National Forest is in southwestern Oregon and covers over 983,000 acres. It is named after the Umpqua River, which runs through the forest. The forest has a diverse landscape that includes mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. It is home to many different species of animals, including black bears, elk, and cougars.

Mount Bailey and Diamond Lake are two of the most popular features in the park. At Diamond Lake, visitors can fish, boat, and swim. You can do all of this with stunning views of Mount Bailey.

A unique feature in the national forest is the Umpqua Hot Springs. It is a popular destination for hikers and natural enthusiasts. The hot springs are a relaxing place to soak in warm water.

The park is full of waterfalls, but the most brilliant waterfall is Toketee Falls. It drops 113 feet into a deep pool. It is also surrounded by stunning basalt cliffs.

Experienced hikers will find ample hiking trails and climbing challenges. Mount Thielsen resembles a lightning rod and is a favorite because of its distinctive peak.

The forest offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. Visitors can also enjoy scenic drives, waterfalls, and exploring the many trails in the forest. The forest has over 70 developed campgrounds, as well as many backcountry camping opportunities.

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