This geological wonderland of rugged terrain topped by jagged peaks includes, near its center, the 6,872-foot cinder and ash cone of Belknap Crater, whose eruptions created one of the largest sheets of lava in the United States. The summit of the 7,794-foot dissected volcano named after our first president, scraped bare by ancient glaciation (the peak, not the president), overlooks some 75 miles of black lava-strewn plains. A dense forest of lodgepole pine and mountain hemlock covers much of the Wilderness. There are 28 lakes and wildlife enough to attract hunters. Only State Highway 242 separates Mount Washington Wilderness from Three Sisters Wilderness to the south. The primary trail through this area is 16.6 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, which enters at McKenzie Pass in the south, crosses a section of the lava, skirts the Belknap Crater, climbs the western slopes of Mount Washington, passes through a region of high lakes, and then leaves the Wilderness to hit U.S. 20 to the north. Tenas Lake and Benson Lake in the southwest corner receive substantial human use, as does Patjens Lake in the north. All three lakes are accessible via short trails.
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 Washington 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.
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