Winema National Forest (of the Fremont-Winema National Forests) is in south central Oregon on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range and consists of 1,040,437 acres. It is also on the northern and eastern sides of Crater Lake National Park. There are 22 developed campgrounds of which six meet the selection criteria.
The Winema National Forest was formed in 1961 from portions of the Klamath Indian Reservation and sections from surrounding National Forests. A young Forest, Winema is rich in history and recreational opportunities. Few have yet to discover this little gem of a National Forest.
Winema National Forest was named for the Native American woman, Kaitchkona Winema (a.k.a., "The Strong Hearted Woman") who is considered the heroine of the 1872 Modoc War. She was a most remarkable woman who did what she could for her people and naming this Forest near her home seems a fitting action. (Ask about her at any of the Forest Ranger District Offices to learn more.) However, the history of this Forest reaches back beyond the Modoc War. It starts long before the exploration by Lt. John C. Fremont in 1843 and Peter Ogden in 1826. The history of this little Forest reaches into prehistoric times. Much of this prehistory is found in places considered sacred to the Klamath people. Visitors are asked respect those locations and artifacts that might be found there.
The Winema National Forest stretches down the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range, from the borders of Crater Lake National Park to the Klamath River Basin and Williamson River. It features marshland and alpine lakes, as well as Ponderosa and Lodgepole pine forests growing out of the deep pumice and ash deposited by Mt. Mazama some seven thousand years ago. Such a diversity of landscape provides a wide assortment of recreation, but since the Winema is located on the drier east side of the Cascade Mountain Range, most recreational activities center on water.
Perhaps the best known of Winema National Forest lakes is Lake of the Woods in Lake of the Woods Recreation Area (RA). An easy drive west of Klamath Falls, Lake of the Woods is a natural lake formed when lava flows dammed the area's drainage. Evidence of the flows can still be seen along the highway and trails. Surrounded by a dense forest of old-growth Douglas and White firs, and some Lodgepole pine, Lake of the Woods features two developed Forest Service campgrounds - Aspen Point and Sunset. Sunset received its name for the magnificent sunsets seen from
the campground's shoreline. Each evening the gentle Mt. Brown and towering Mt. McLoughlin appears to light up with an "aspen glow." Aspen Point may not have the same photogenic moments found at Sunset but it is a beautifully scenic campground that should be considered by any visitor looking for a quiet place to enjoy the Winema National Forest. A must-do while at the Lake of the Woods RA is to stroll along any section of the High Lakes trail. This trail winds past the Lake, over streams and creeks, through dense old-growth forests, up ancient lava flows, and down lush forest meadows. A popular mountain bike route, High Lakes trail offers a pleasant up-close-and-personal view of the area.
North of Lake of the Woods RA and in the shadow of Mt. McLoughlin, visitors will find a different camping experience at the Fourmile Lake campground. While a healthy population of Kokanee salmon and Brook trout attract many, it is probably the campground's nearness to the Sky Lakes Wilderness, with its network of trails,
that draw both hikers and equestrian campers to this rustic campground. This campground is also a great place for birders. The lake supports a healthy populations of gulls, loon, grebes and other diving birds to include nesting birds.
North of Chiloquin, and just off US Route 97, Winema offers a hidden surprise in Williamson River campground. Within walking distance of Spring Creek and the "Blue Ribbon" trout fishery of Williamson River, this small campground offers a tranquil location to enjoy the solitude found in this under-discovered Forest. Well away from the traffic noise of US Route 97, the quiet found in the campground is often interrupted by the song of a migrant songbird or the call of a hunting Osprey.
To exprience forest camping at it most basic form there is Jackson Creek campground. Campsites are scattered under a canopy of old-growth Jeffery pines beside the Willow-lined Jackson Creek. This campground receives little attention from the Forest Service and is dependent on the "good camping techniques" of its visitors. A special treat in visiting Jackson Creek campground, via Klamath Marsh (Silver Lake Rd./Forest Rt. 76), is the incredible concentration of nesting and migratory
waterfowl seen along the route.
In Winema National Forest's northern section, and just east of Crater Lake and surrounded by Mt. Thielsen Wilderness, is Digit Point campground. Located on the south shore of Miller Lake, the
campground is popular with folks looking to camp in a peaceful forest setting with great fishing and varied hiking opportunities. Miller Lake's Brown, Rainbow, and Brook trout and Kokanee salmon pose a challenge for anglers of any age while the five-mile Miller Lake Trail loop provides hikers an opportunity to explore part of Mt. Thielsen Wilderness and be back at camp for dinner. Hikers can also access the Pacific Crest
National Scenic Trail and Maidu Trail from the Miller Lake Trail. Although at the end of a twelve-mile gravel and washboard road, Digit Point campground is worth the drive.
Some say Digit Point campground is the prettiest campground in the Winema National Forest. However, Aspen Point and Sunsetcampgrounds in the Lake in the Woods RA are especially attractive
and the view of Mt. McLoughin from Fourmile Lake campground is
memorable. Visitors will long remember the quiet beauty of Williamson River campground and when camping at Jackson Creek campground, images of mountain men and the old west might appear. Finally, there are the miles and miles of fabulous trails cris-crossing the Forest and winding through Mountain Lakes, Sky Lakes and Mt. Thielsen wilderness. Trails to hike, fish to catch, wildlife and birds to watch, pictures to take, lakes for swimming, and memories to make, Winema National Forest offers much to its visitors. Come and discover the many
recreational opportunities of this little Forest.
1301 South G St.
Lakeview, Oregon 97630
RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES
Chemult, Oregon 97731
38500 Highway 97 North
Chiloquin, Oregon 97624
2819 Dahlia Street
Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601