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Jefferson Park Area - Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Trailhead in Willamette National Forest


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The Jefferson Park area within the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness is an incredibly popular destination, providing iconic views of Mt. Jefferson, alpine lakes and abundant wildflowers. Backpacking, day hiking and mountaineering are the most common forms of recreation in the area during the short summer season. Opportunities for nature photography also abound.

Mt. Jefferson and Park Ridge are the dominant features of the Jefferson Park area. Mt. Jefferson's slopes are mantled by five glaciers: Whitewater, Waldo, Milk Creek, Russell and Jefferson Park. Jefferson Park proper consists of sensitive subalpine meadows and lakes with an extremely short growing season. Vegetation is dwarfed with old-growth mountain hemlock the size of most 10-20 year old conifers. Other geographic features include steep talus slopes, rock outcrops and alpine meadows.

To assist in planning an overnight trip into the Jefferson Park area, take time to review the Jefferson Park vicinity map, map of Bays, Scout, Rock and Park Lakes , which includes 26 designated campsites or view the Russell Lake map for four additional designated campsites. If camping within 250 feet of any of the lakes in Jefferson Park you must camp within a designated site.

The sensitive meadows and fragile vegetation of Jefferson Park’s subalpine ecosystem take decades of recovery once damaged. With the popularity of Jefferson Park, please help protect this area and preserve the experience for you and for future visitors. ''Leave No Trace'' techniques are encouraged, including properly disposing of human and pet waste and carrying out all trash. When making a campsite selection, never camp on vegetation - select a pre-existing hardened campsite. The best campsites are found not made. Click here for more Leave No Trace information.

Visitors should obtain a detailed map of the area before planning a trip, and inquire in advance about trail conditions, particularly early in the season. Jefferson Park can hold substantial snow well into June/July on an average snow year, so plan your trip accordingly.

Know Before You Go

  • Visitors must carry a Central Cascades Wilderness Pass if visiting between the first Friday following Memorial Day and the last Friday in September.
  • Maximum group size is 12 people and 12 head of stock.
  • Campfires are not permitted within the boundaries of Jefferson Park.
  • Click here to read special regulations unique to the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area.
  • Stock users must use weed-free feed; click here for more information.
  • There are no facilities within the Jefferson Park area or the Wilderness area.
Horseback Riding

Additional Information


  • Backpacking
  • Day Hiking
  • Horse Camping
  • Horse Riding


Starting in 2021, a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit will be required.  


If camping within 250 feet of any of the lakes in Jefferson Park you must camp within a designated site.


If camping within 250 feet of any of the lakes in Jefferson Park you must camp within a designated site.