Winema National Forest Overview

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The 1.1-million acre Winema National Forest is located within Klamath County in south central Oregon on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range. The Winema isn't necessarily what you'd expect from an Oregon forest—contrary to Oregon's reputation for rain, the area is best known for clear skies and sunshine.

Twenty-two miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail run through the forest. The Forest borders Crater Lake National Park near the crest of the Cascades and stretches eastward into the Klamath River Basin. Near the floor of the Basin the Forest gives way to vast marshes and meadows associated with Upper Klamath Lake and the Williamson River. To the north and east extensive stands of ponderosa and lodgepole pine grow on deep pumice and ash, which blanketed the area during the eruption of Mt. Mazama (now Crater Lake) nearly 7,000 years ago.

Hike Mt. McLoughlin
A common day hike and non-technical mountain climb is the Mount McLoughlin Trail, located in the southern portion of the national forest in the Sky Lakes Wilderness district. The five-mile hike to the 9,495-foot summit of the mountain is rated as difficult, but the panoramic view is worth the climb. It is the highest peak in Southern Oregon, and the highest point in the Cascade Range between the Three Sisters and Mount Shasta.

Camp at Four-Mile Lake
A great spot for fishing, boating, and swimming, Four-Mile Lake, in the Kalamath Ranger district, is a perfect place to set up camp. There are six picnic sites, 25 tent or trailer sites, drinking water, and facilities all located at this beautiful alpine lake.

Bike Brown Mountain Trail
The Brown Mountain Trail is a moderately difficult, rolling 14-mile loop. The trail winds through a lovely old-growth forest. In the early summer, Orchids, trilliums, and other shade-loving wildflowers blanket the forest floor. Look for the 15,000-year-old lava flows at the base of Brown Mountain.

Ski to Four-Mile Lake
A-six mile trip down Four-mile Lake road to Four-mile Lake. On a clear day, you'll have a beautiful vista of Mt. McLoughlin. This area gets 10-15 feet of snow during the winter, so once you get to the lake, don't be surprised when it looks like a massive snowfield.

Fish the Williamson
The Williamson River, on the Chiloquin Ranger District, is known nationally for its naturally self sustaining populations of trout. The Lower Williamson is known for trophy-size rainbow and brown trout. The upper parts of the river have smaller rainbow and brook trout.

Drive to Pelican Butte
At 8,036 feet, this summit offers breathtaking views of Upper Klamath Lake and Sky Lakes Wilderness. Old growth timber lines the narrow, rough road to the top. It is about a 1-hour ride to the summit from Klamath Falls.

Ogle the Eagles
The Klamath Basin is the largest waterfowl congregating area on the West Coast and has the largest population of wintering and nesting bald eagles in the lower 48 states. Birdwatchers should also keep their eyes peeled for Borrow's Boldeneye, Sandhill Cranes, and Great Grey Owls.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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