Five glaciers mantle the slopes of stately Mount Jefferson, the dominant feature in this region of the High Cascades: Whitewater, Waldo, Milk Creek, Russell, and Jefferson Park. At 10,497 feet, Mount Jefferson challenges hikers with the steepest, most difficult climb of Oregon's high summits. The southern portion of the area rests beneath 7,841-foot Three Fingered Jack. Most of the high country of this Wilderness is wide open, almost like a park, with scattered tree cover, long talus slopes, rocky outcroppings, alpine meadows, and year-round patches of snow. Between 5,000 feet and 6,000 feet you'll find more than 150 small lakes, about half of them stocked with trout. A grand forest of Douglas fir, silver fir, subalpine fir, mountain hemlock, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, and cedar mix with vine maple, huckleberry, and rhododendron to distinguish the lower elevations. The vast Warm Springs Indian Reservation shares a long northeastern border. Hikers can wend their way through approximately 190 miles of very heavily used trails, including about 40 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Jefferson Park, Marion Lake, Pamelia Lake, and Jack Lake are the most impacted by human traffic.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
(No official title, designates Mount Jefferson Wilderness) - Public law 90-548 (10/2/1968) To designate the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, Willamette, Deschutes, and Mount Hood National Forests, in the State of Oregon
Oregon Wilderness Act of 1984 - Public law 98-328 (6/26/1984) To designate certain national forest system lands in the State of Oregon for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation
System, and for other purposes