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Okanogan National Forest

There is a variety of country from craggy peaks to rolling meadows, to rich old growth forest, and classic groves of ponderosa pine, all with plenty of sun and snow, on the Okanogan National Forest.

The Okanogan National Forest offers a variety of recreational opportunities for the adventurer. With more than 800 miles of wilderness trails to explore by foot or horse in one of the region's nine wilderness areas. You could spend weeks just enjoying the back country of the Okanogan National Forest. There are also barrier free trails for individuals with disabilities to experience the great outdoors of the national forest. Motorbike, mountain bike, snowmobile, and other recreational vehicles also have opportunities to join the fun.

Camping - You can visit any of the 24 campgrounds west of the Okanogan River and in the 5 Lakes Area. If you're interested in a more remote experience, you can camp at any number of undeveloped sites, for which there is no fee for use. Check out these great camping tips before you hit the road.

The story behind the forest
The Okanogan National Forest owes its origin to the "Washington's Birthday Reserves" proclamation signed on February 22, 1897, by President Grover Cleveland. This proclamation created 13 forest reserves covering 21 million acres in the western states. In 1905, the forest reserves were transferred from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Agriculture, and the Forest Service was created.

Watch raptors migrate through a unique program. Through the Chelan Ridge Raptor Migration Project, Hawk Watch International has teamed up with Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests to monitor and learn more about raptors migrating through the eastern Cascade Mountains of Washington within the Pacific Coast Flyway.

Counts typically range between 2,000-3,000 migrants of up to 17 species per season. The most commonly seen species are the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Harrier, Golden Eagle, and American Kestrel. The project runs from 27 August through 31 October (or whenever the snow forces the crew off the ridge).

First-timer’s Adventure

Challenge yourself!

Try a hike up Fir Mountain. The Fir Mountain Trail is only 2 miles, but it can be strenuous. The rewards are incredible views of the surrounding mountain landscape.

To get there, from Wauconda take State Route 20 southeast 9 miles southeast (or 9 miles northwest of Republic). Turn on Forest Service Road 31. Then travel about 1 mile to the parking area.

Statistics

State(s):

Washington

Nearest Large Urban Area:

Spokane

Notes & Conditions:

If your Off Highway Vehicle is licensed to operate on public roads or highways, then it can operated on National Forests system roads open to highway vehicles.

If your OHV is not licensed, it may be used ONLY on roads that are blocked with rocks, trees or earthen barriers and not open for passenger cars or trucks. Be sure that the blocked road is not show on the Okanogan National Forest Travel Plan Map as closed to all motorized vehicle use or closed on the ground with a written order.

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 and Fees:

Certain recreational activities may require a Northwest Forest Pass, available by clicking here. Other activities, such as cutting Christmas trees, require different permits. Click here for a list of other activities that require permits.

Maps:

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