Mountain Lakes Wilderness

Fremont-Winema National Forest, Near Chiloquin, Oregon

Mountain Lakes Wilderness does not offer reservations through Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!


Before its eruption and subsequent transformation into a large caldera, the area we call Mountain Lakes Wilderness was a 12,000-foot mountain, one of the giants of the southern Cascades. Glaciation then carved up the caldera, leaving a scattering of small alpine lakes instead of one enormous body of water, such as Crater Lake National Park to the north.

Only eight prominent peaks remain of the caldera's rim. Unique to the National Wilderness Preservation System, this area is the only Wilderness with a perfectly square boundary. Long appreciated for its wonder, Mountain Lakes was one of the three original Primitive areas created in 1930 in the Washington-Oregon region. Mosquitoes fly thickly from snowmelt to mid-August, and provide food for the rainbow and brook trout in the lakes.

The 8.2-mile Mountain Lakes Loop Trail winds along the southern rim of the caldera, connecting three trails in the interior of the Wilderness: the Clover Creek Trail (4 miles) from the south, the Mountain Lakes Trail (6.5 miles) from the west, and the Varney Creek Trail (4.5 miles) from the north. Beyond the eastern boundary lies private land.

Remember: The wilderness is an environment that is unpredictable so bring clothing and supplies for all types of weather and situations.

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