Ochoco

The Ochoco National Forest stretches east from central Oregon with magnificent rock formations, hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, horseback riding and rock hounding.

Since their creation as parts of the Cascade Forest Reserve (1893) and Blue Mountains Forest Reserve (1906), the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests have played an important role in Central Oregon's economic and social history. They were major suppliers of timber during the decades when mills formed the core of Central Oregon's economy and today are a destination for the millions of recreationists who visit Central Oregon each year.

The Ochoco National Forest now covers more than 850,000 acres of public lands. and includes 36,200 acres of designated wilderness, distributed among 3 wilderness areas.

Water -The forest is the headwaters of the North Fork of the Crooked River. Central Oregon has a wide variety of water bodies, from the youthful landscapes of the Deschutes National Forest with its abundant lakes and youthful streams to the mature landscapes of the Ochoco National Forest with its limited lakes and mature stream system.

Geology - The Ochoco National Forest is a much older volcanic region that has been uplifted and eroded.

History - This forest and the surrounding area boast many and varied historic and prehistoric archaeological sites, historic trails, cabins, railroads, and camps located on public lands in Central Oregon. They include: 9,500-year-old Native American; large and complex obsidian quarry sites; dispersed and ephemeral scatters of stone tool debris and waste flakes; traces of early pioneer trails such as the Meek Wagon trail and historic wagon roads such as the Huntington Road that traversed the High Desert between The Dalles and Klamath Marsh; and small trappers cabins and historic Forest Service administrative sites.

The water, the geology and the history all offer great ways to recreate. You can float your boat, canoe, kayak or self at any one of the many lakes and on the handful of magnificent rivers. Go rockhounding for petrified wood, dendrite, angel wing or other rocks and minerals or visit one of the other exciting geologic sites. Or explore one of the many Heritage sites.

Special Places
Looking for a different kind of adventure? Check out one of the
eight Wild and Scenic rivers, one of three Wilderness Areas, one of three scenic byways, or the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Map:


Ochoco statistics

State(s):
Oregon

Nearest large Urban Area:
Bend, Oregon

Notes & Conditions:
There are several regulations that govern use of the Ochoco National Forest, which you can read about here

Are you an OHV rider? If so, be sure to check out the OHV forest regulations page before you head out so you know what areas are open and what areas are restricted.

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Permits, passes, fees:
Some areas of the Northwest require a Northwest Forest Pass. Learn more about this recreation pass here.

Maps:
Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.

First-timer's adventure:
A Geologic wonderland
Newberry National Volcanic National Monument includes 50,000 acres of lakes, lava flows, and spectacular geologic features in central Oregon. The highest point within the Monument is the summit Paulina Peak (7,985 ft.), showcasing views of the Oregon Cascades and across the High Desert. It's spectacular!

While there, be sure to check out the Lava River Cave. The scarcity and spaciousness of Central Oregon's Lava Lands create an area of striking beauty both above and below ground. Large areas are covered by lava flows. These rivers of rock are basalt, a molten lava that spreads quickly and sometimes flowed up to seventy miles. Great tunnels wind through many of these flows and suggest that awesome forces of nature were once at work. These ancient lava tunnels (called tubes) are one of the area's most interesting secrets.

Lava River Cave is one example of these ancient lava tunnels. The cave temperature is a constant 42 degrees, so wear warm clothing. The one mile cave is one of the longest lava tubes in Oregon. To get there, head 12.5 miles south of Bend on Hwy. 97 (1 mile south of Lava Lands Visitor Center).

Contact Info:
Ochoco National Forest
3160 N.E. 3rd Street
Prineville, OR 97754

(541) 416-6500

Forest Service website >>

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