Located on the eastern slopes of the Cascades in Central Oregon, the Deschutes National Forest offers year-round recreation opportunities. Home to more than 1.6 million acres, the Forest spans a variety of landscapes and ecosystems. The Forest gains more than 9,000 feet in eleveation from its lowest point at Lake Billy Chinook (1,950 ft) to its highest atop South Sister’s summit (10.358 ft).
With more than 80 campgrounds across the Deschutes National Forest, visitors enjoy campsites featuring a wide-variety of picturesque backdrops. Camping opportunities range from rustic, walk-in sites to sites accomodating full-size RV’s and trailers.
Five wildernesses fall within the Deschutes National Forest boundary–Diamond Peak Wilderness, Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, Mt. Thielsen Wilderness, Mt. Washington Wilderness and Three Sisters Wilderness. Each wilderness offers visitors a unique experience; from sweeping summit views to alpine lakes, these areas provide the perfeect backdrop for a day hike or backpacking trip.
Three scenic byways wind through the Forest–Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway and the Outback Scenic Byway. The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway heads west out of Bend, winds up past Mt. Bachelor before depositing visitors at the base of South Sister and Broken Top, as well as prodviding access to dozens of lakes. The McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway leaves Sisters, before climbing two passes and carveing through 82 miles of wide-open lava fields interspersed among desnse forest canopy. The Outback Scenic Byway stretches through the southeastern portion of Central Oregon, covering 171 miles of geologic wonder.