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This Land: A Guide to Western National Forests

Robert H. Mohlenbrock
Foreword by MIKE DOMBECK
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Pages: 391
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    This Land
    Book Description:

    Part armchair travelogue, part guide book, this projected three-volume series-divided into the western, central, and eastern United States-will introduce readers to all 155 national forests across the country.This Landis the only comprehensive field guide that describes the natural features, wildernesses, scenic drives, campgrounds, and hiking trails of our national forests, many of which-while little known and sparsely visited-boast features as spectacular as those found in our national parks and monuments. Each entry includes logistical information about size and location, facilities, attractions, and associated wilderness areas. For about half of the forests, Robert H. Mohlenbrock has provided sidebars on the biological or geological highlights, drawn from the "This Land" column that he has written forNatural Historymagazine since 1984. Superbly illustrated with color photographs, botanical drawings, and maps, this book is loaded with information, clearly written, and easy to use. This volume covers national forests in: Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, California, Utah, Idaho, Washington

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93051-3
    Subjects: Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Mike Dombeck

    As the Civil War came to an end, the United States found itself positioned to become a leader among nations. A country of immigrants with a rich endowment of natural resources, America was already a land of opportunity, but the young nation lacked the cultural marks of achievement that characterized its Old World counterparts. Europe had great temples, cathedrals, and museums filled with artifacts. Asia had great dynasties that embodied its long and glorious past. Though short on history, America did have a powerful national spirit that was expressed especially well through its abundant and bountiful land, much of which...

    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)

    During the rapid development of the United States after the American Revolution, and during most of the twentieth century, many forests in the United States were logged, with the logging often followed by devastating fires; ranchers converted the prairies and the plains into vast pastures for livestock; sheep were allowed to venture onto heretofore undisturbed alpine areas; and great amounts of land were turned over in an attempt to find gold, silver, and other minerals.

    In 1875, the American Forestry Association was born. This organization was asked by Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz to try to change the concept...


    • Chugach National Forest
      (pp. 2-9)

      Chugach is the most northern and most western national forest in the United States and is second in size only to Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Only 500 miles from the Arctic Circle, the Chugach is about the size of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined. Well over half of the national forest is tundra and glaciers, although it has no shortage of forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, wildlife, and wetlands. The main attraction for visitors is the opportunity for world-class fishing and hunting. For fishing regulations, please contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at (907) 465-5999 or

      People by...

    • Tongass National Forest
      (pp. 9-19)

      Majestic is the only way to describe the scenery in southeastern Alaska. Whether you see it from a cruise ship, a kayak, a float plane, or while hiking, the fiords, steep sea cliffs, glaciers, temperate rain forests, and waterways will leave an indelible impression on you.

      Most of the area of southeastern Alaska is in the Tongass National Forest, and much of it is inaccessible to the average sightseer and explorer of nature. The enormous Tongass covers 16.8 million acres, an area slightly larger than West Virginia. It stretches for hundreds of miles from Yakutat Bay in the north to...


    • Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
      (pp. 21-27)

      The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is two forests in one. Although the two are contiguous, they are very different in character from each other. Nonetheless, in 1976, the Apache National Forest and the Sitgreaves National Forest were combined into one administrative unit.

      The orientation of the Apache is north to south; the Sitgreaves east to west. The Apache is high mountain country to the north then drops dramatically over the Mogollon Rim (pronounced muggy-OWN) to the south. The Sitgreaves is entirely located in the Colorado Plateau on top of the Mogollon Rim. The Apache has major rivers, tremendous canyons, and high...

    • Coconino National Forest
      (pp. 28-37)

      A 10,000-foot drop in elevation from the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks to the desert highlands along the Verde River passes through several life zones in the Coconino National Forest. Separating these two diverse areas is the spectacular Mogollon Rim. The forest is a diverse landscape of colorful rock canyons, cinder cones and lava flows, crystal-clear lakes, permanent flowing streams, and wide-open, flower-filled meadows.

      Although the Coconino National Forest is one large, contiguous area, it has five very different geographical regions. North of Flagstaff and Interstate 40 are the Volcanic Highlands. South and east of Flagstaff is the Colorado Plateau Country,...

    • Coronado National Forest
      (pp. 38-53)

      An “Island in the Sky” is an isolated mountain range that stands dramatically above plains or desert that surround it. Because the summits of these mountains have been isolated from the summits of other mountains for millions of years, just as islands in an ocean are separated from other islands for long periods of time, several plants and even a few animals may be confined to a particular Island in the Sky and found nowhere else.

      In southern Arizona, mostly between Tucson and Nogales and eastward into New Mexico, the Coronado National Forest encompasses 12 of these Islands in the...

    • Kaibab National Forest
      (pp. 53-58)

      The Kaibab National Forest has three distinct units. North of the Grand Canyon is the Kaibab Plateau unit, and the national forest covers all of it down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. South of Grand Canyon National Park, the Tusayan District of the Kaibab National Forest occupies the Coconino Plateau. The third unit is west of Flagstaff where Kendrick Mountain is located and south of Williams where Bill Williams Mountain is found.

      On most of the mountain slopes in the Kaibab are extensive woodlands dominated by piñon pine, Utah juniper, one-seeded juniper, and Rocky Mountain juniper. Alligator...

    • Prescott National Forest
      (pp. 58-64)

      Cool mountains above 7,500 feet in elevation to arid Sonoran Desert communities epitomize the range of diversity to be found in the Prescott National Forest. History can be found throughout the forest, from gold-mining along Lynx Creek to a gunbattle at Battles Flat to near–ghost towns such as Cleator and Crown King. Horsethief Basin is an area of former cattle rustling.

      The eastern and western units of the Prescott National Forest are separated by the broad Chino and Lonesome valleys. Most of the southeastern boundary of the national forest is the Wild and Scenic Verde River, Arizona’s only river...

    • Tonto National Forest
      (pp. 64-77)

      One of the largest national forests in size, the Tonto is also one of the most frequently visited because of its proximity to Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun. There is enough Sonoran Desert habitat to please everyone, and there are also mountains whose summits are covered by forests of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. In between are brushy chaparral communities above the desert and piñon pine–juniper–oak woodlands on the mountain slopes. Water enthusiasts, including boaters, flock to Theodore Roosevelt Lake, Apache Lake, Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, Bartlett Reservoir, and Horseshoe Reservoir. Intermittent and perennial streams, often...


    • Angeles National Forest
      (pp. 79-81)

      State Route 14 bisects the Angeles National Forest into two sections. The larger eastern part extends from the western part of the San Gabriel Mountains to State Route 14 and from Mt. Emma on the north to Interstate 210 on the south. It includes the San Gabriel Wilderness and part of the Cucamonga Wilderness. The main activities of the western section of the Angeles center around the large Bouquet Reservoir.

      In the eastern portion of the forest, the Angeles Highway (State Route 2) wiggles and winds its way for more than 75 miles through the heart of the national forest....

    • Cleveland National Forest
      (pp. 81-84)

      In contrast to most of California’s national forests, which are found in the high mountain regions of the state, the Cleveland National Forest, for the most part, occupies much lower terrain. Monument Peak, at 6,271 feet, is the highest elevation in the forest. Chaparral is the common habitat type in the foothills and lower elevations in the Cleveland, with chamise, red shank, manzanitas, and madrones seemingly everywhere. As elevation increases, woodlands of coast live oak and California black oak surround meadows full of wildflowers during the spring and early summer. At the highest elevations, Jeffrey pine is occasionally joined by...

    • Eldorado National Forest
      (pp. 84-88)

      This is gold country!! After James W. Marshall discovered gold near Coloma in 1849, 50,000 wealth seekers rushed to the area now occupied by the Eldorado National Forest. Remnants of gold days abound, from abandoned mines to ghost towns to cemeteries nearly in ruins. The Eldorado National Forest is located between the foothills of the central Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe, taking in a range of elevations from 3,382 to 9,983 feet.

      Hikers converge on the Desolation Wilderness for superb hiking. Because of its location between Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Sacramento, this wilderness area is the most visited per acre...

    • Inyo National Forest
      (pp. 88-99)

      After studying a map of the Inyo National Forest, the quandary is where to go first. The forest is adjacent to Death Valley National Park, the lowest elevation in the country, and extends to Mt. Whitney, the highest elevation in the lower 48 states. The forest has numerous natural features, from the remains of volcanic activity to the oldest living trees in the world to California’s greatest concentration of bighorn sheep (pl. 15) to Mono Basin. Historical sites in the forest range from earlier Indian occupation to remnants of past mining and grazing operations.

      You may wish to start your...

    • Klamath National Forest
      (pp. 99-101)

      High mountains, narrow ridges, steep-sided canyons, turbulent rivers, and tranquil lakes highlight the Klamath National Forest. The mountains are clothed by continuous stands of ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, Douglas fir, red fir, and incense cedar. White fir grows in higher elevations. The Forest Service estimates more than 175,000 acres of virgin forest are in the Klamath. Much of the forest is designated wilderness, but there is still plenty of room for nonwilderness activities. The Klamath, Salmon, Trinity, and Scott Rivers drain the forest and provide some of the best fishing for steelhead, salmon, and rainbow trout. One hundred fifty-two miles...

    • Lake Tahoe Basin Management Area
      (pp. 102-105)

      When explorer John Fremont came over a mountain ridge and saw the majestic blue water of Lake Tahoe in the vast basin below him in 1844, he was the first non-Indian to record this remarkable body of water. The Washoe Indians had known and used the lake and its surrounding forests for many decades, but Fremont’s discovery was soon to open the area to masses of recreation-hungry people. It was not until the 1930s that a paved road completely encircled the lake. Now, dozens of roads, particularly along the southern shore, are crowded with people and buildings. Only about 5,500...

    • Lassen National Forest
      (pp. 105-108)

      Lassen is the land of recent as well as ancient volcanic activity. The Lassen National Forest completely surrounds Lassen Volcanic National Park where Mt. Lassen erupted as recently as 1915. From the northern end of the Sierra Nevada to the southern end of the Cascade Range, all types of volcanic phenomena can be seen and explored, particularly in the Hat Creek area.

      For a great introduction to these volcanic features, start by hiking the Spatter Cone Trail that begins across from the Hat Creek Campground alongside State Route 44/89. Pick up a trail guide before starting this two-mile round trip...

    • Los Padres National Forest
      (pp. 108-112)

      The Los Padres National Forest extends from Monterey to Ventura, paralleling the Pacific Ocean for nearly 250 miles. The forest has two noncontiguous areas. The northern section encompasses the Santa Lucia Range and extends from frontage on the Pacific Ocean to 5,844-foot Junipero Serra Peak. The more extensive southern unit includes the La Panza Range, the Santa Ynez Mountains, and the Sierra Madre with Mt. Pinos the highest in the forest at 8,831 feet. State Route 166, which follows the Cuyama River, separates the La Panza Range from the Sierra Madre.

      The national forest runs the gamut for vegetation communities,...

    • Mendocino National Forest
      (pp. 112-115)

      If your outdoor interests rely on the backcountry, the Mendocino National Forest is your cup of tea. It boasts of not having a single paved road that traverses from one side of the forest to the other! Although there are numerous dirt and gravel roads, many of them are rough, narrow, and suitable only during good weather.

      Hang gliders come from all over to glide 4.5 miles from Hull Mountain to the Gravelly Valley Airstrip or to sail two miles from Elk Mountain to the Middle Creek Campground.

      The most rewarding trail in the Mendocino is in the Yolla Bolly...

    • Modoc National Forest
      (pp. 115-118)

      The Modoc National Forest lies in the remote northeast corner of California. Most of it was covered by an immense lava flow millions of years ago. Elevations in the forest range from 4,300 to 9,892 feet.

      The eastern part of the forest east of Alturas contains a spur of the Cascade Range to the north known as the Warner Mountains. These mountains drop steeply on their eastern side, whereas the western side has a more gentle, rolling topography. The southern part of the Warner Mountains has been designated the South Warner Mountain Wilderness, a region 18 miles long and about...

    • Plumas National Forest
      (pp. 118-123)

      Ever since I started gathering maps and brochures about our national forests, I knew I would have to have Feather Falls in the Plumas National Forest on my list of things to see as soon as I could. The falls is the sixth highest in the United States. Park a short distance north of Feather Falls Village, a few miles northeast of the community of Oroville. After zigzagging downhill for about a mile, make your way along a refreshing mountain stream and pass a bubbling spring. Long before reaching the end of the nine-mile loop trail, Feather Falls Trail, you...

    • Plates
      (pp. None)
    • San Bernardino National Forest
      (pp. 124-131)

      Interstate 10 from Palm Springs to the suburbs of Los Angeles stays in a broad valley with high mountains towering above both sides of the freeway. To the north is the east-west trending Transverse Range that includes the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains. To the south, the San Jacinto Mountains are part of the north-south trending Peninsular Range that eventually extends into Mexico. The San Bernardino National Forest encompasses almost all of these mountains and is one of the most heavily visited in the country.

      The forest has steep, rugged topography with several lakes interspersed and clear mountain streams...

    • Sequoia National Forest
      (pp. 131-134)

      The Sequoia National Forest extends from the North Fork of the Kings River south to the Kern River and Piute Mountains, from the foothills of the San Joaquin Valley to the crest of the Sierra Nevada. Enough is here to satisfy almost any aspect of outdoor activities.

      Giant sequoia trees, the world’s most massive living organisms, are confined to a 15-mile-wide strip on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada for a distance of about 250 miles. These behemoths live in groves, and there are more of them in the Sequoia National Forest than anywhere else. All of the 38...

    • Shasta-Trinity National Forest
      (pp. 135-137)

      In the first decade of the twentieth century, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the Shasta and the Trinity as two new national forests in California. In 1954, these two forests were combined to form the massive Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The Trinity Mountains dominate the western Trinity half of the forest, and mighty Mt. Shasta is the centerpiece of the eastern half. Wherever you wander in the forest, you usually are not far away from a view of snow-capped Mt. Shasta. At 14,162 feet, it is topped in the lower 48 states only by the 14,496-foot Mt. Whitney. Mt. Shasta Wilderness surrounds...

    • Sierra National Forest
      (pp. 137-143)

      The Sierra National Forest seems to have everything. It boasts of 63 campgrounds, 11 reservoirs, 5 wilderness areas (comprising 43% of the forest), 480 lakes, and 1,800 miles of rivers and streams. Outstanding in the Sierra National Forest are the sequoia groves. A few miles south of Yosemite National Park is a dirt road, Nelder Grove Road, that leads to a secluded grove of sequoias known as Nelder Grove. Here, in the solitude of nature, is this forest of giants that will create in you a new sense of reverence and inner peace. In this grove are 101 of these...

    • Six Rivers National Forest
      (pp. 143-146)

      Like the three tenors, the Six Rivers National Forest is incomparable. The erosional processes of the Smith, Klamath, Mad, VanDuzen, Trinity, and Eel rivers have created a rough and rugged terrain, much of which is accessible only by hiking or horseback riding.

      Although this forest is home to tall coastal redwoods, which seem to be trying to reach the sky, Douglas fir is the predominant tree in the mountains. Almost all Douglas fir forests have an understory of tanoak and madrone. In the high country of the Six Rivers National Forest, white fir becomes significant. Mixed evergreen forests, oak woodlands,...

    • Stanislaus National Forest
      (pp. 147-150)

      The wild and rugged Stanislaus National Forest is wedged between the Eldorado and Toiyabe National Forests to the north. Yosemite National Park borders nearly the entire eastern edge of the forest to the south. Nearly one-third of this large forest is designated wilderness area.

      The Emigrant Wilderness is located entirely within the Stanislaus. It lies against the northwest corner of Yosemite National Park on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Covering an area 25 miles long and 15 miles wide, this is a wild region of alpine lakes, deep canyons, rocky domes, volcanic peaks, and wildflower meadows. This is...

    • Tahoe National Forest
      (pp. 151-156)

      Located in the central Sierra Nevada, the Tahoe National Forest is a land of contrasts. The eastern side of the forest has gently rolling topography. The western side is more dramatic with deep, dissected river canyons penetrating the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. The Middle Fork of the American River forms much of the southern boundary of the forest, and the Yuba River bisects the forest at about its middle. The North Yuba cuts across the northern edge of the national forest. The lowest elevation along the Middle Fork is about 1,300 feet, whereas Mt. Lola tops out at...


    • Boise National Forest
      (pp. 158-160)

      The jagged peaks of the Sawtooth Range form the eastern boundary of the Boise National Forest. Some of the more rugged areas are in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and the Sawtooth Wilderness. Sparkling Ardeth and Spangle Lakes are in the Sawtooth Range, as are Blizzard and Greylock Mountains. Hiking trails lead to all of these attractions.

      At the northeastern corner of the Boise is a part of the Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness. The Wild and Scenic East Fork of the Salmon River is in the northern edge of the national forest, and the Wild and Scenic...

    • Caribou-Targhee National Forest
      (pp. 161-167)

      The Caribou National Forest consists of several disjunct units in southeastern Idaho. The Caribou Range is the major mountainous area of the national forest, although several smaller ranges are present.

      West of St. Charles and huge Bear Lake is a prime forest attraction. Minnetonka Cave is a limestone cavern about a half-mile long with nine rooms, one of them 300 feet in diameter and 90 feet high. The cave is filled with stalactites and stalagmites, some of them old and some still being formed. Fishhook- and corkscrew-shaped helictites are also present. The cave is located in St. Charles Canyon with...

    • Clearwater National Forest
      (pp. 168-173)

      History is everywhere in the Clearwater National Forest. The Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) Indians, through use, created many of the trails that cross the forest. Lewis and Clark camped along and followed the old Indian trails in 1805 and 1806. Gold miners rushed to the forest in the 1860s to seek their fortunes and founded raucous towns such as Pierce and Moose City.

      U.S. Highway 12, the Lewis and Clark Highway, enters the Clearwater National Forest at Lolo Pass and is a scenic route through the national forest. It parallels the high ridgeline route Lewis and Clark followed. The Lewis and...

    • Idaho Panhandle National Forest
      (pp. 173-179)

      The narrow neck of Idaho that extends from the community of Potlatch to the Canadian border is known as the panhandle, and the three national forests in that area make up the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. The Kaniksu, Coeur d’Alene, and St. Joe National Forests are in one administrative unit, although at one time they were considered separate.

      The northernmost national forest in the Idaho Panhandle extends into Washington on the west and Montana on the east. Included within the 1.8-million-acre Kaniksu National Forest are the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains and a part of the Cabinet and Bitterroot Mountains. These...

    • Nez Perce National Forest
      (pp. 179-183)

      Nearly half of the Nez Perce National Forest is in wilderness areas so that if you are handicapped or aged, most of the magnificent mountains, lakes, and streams are inaccessible to you. Nonetheless, a few roads penetrate into the forest.

      At Riggins is Forest Highway 517, Seven Devils Road west into the Seven Devils Mountains that tower 7,000 feet above the Snake River Gorge, the nation’s deepest canyon. From Heaven’s Gate at an elevation of 8,000 feet is a spectacular view of the area. Devil’s Tooth is an extraordinary formation nearby as is He Devil Mountain, one of the Seven...

    • Payette National Forest
      (pp. 183-187)

      Unsurpassed scenery is everywhere in the Payette National Forest from the Snake River and the incomparable Hells Canyon that forms the western boundary of the national forest and the National Wild and Scenic Salmon River that forms the northern boundary. The eastern one-fourth of the national forest is in the Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness, and there are long, rugged hiking trails throughout the wilderness. Whitewater rafting will challenge the most experienced on the Salmon River. The runs of salmon and steelhead trout in the Salmon River and lower portion of the Snake River draw fishermen from all...

    • Salmon-Challis National Forest
      (pp. 188-193)

      The Salmon National Forest extends from Lost Trail Pass on the Montana border in the Bitterroot Mountains to Gilmore Summit on the south. The Bitterroot Range on the Continental Divide forms the eastern boundary. After the Shoshone Indians lived here, Lewis and Clark came through the region in 1805, followed by trappers, traders, and miners, including Kit Carson and Jedediah Smith. With the discovery of gold in 1866 along Napias Creek, permanent residents began to establish towns such as Shoup, Gibbonsville, and Leesburg.

      Much of the Salmon National Forest is in remote areas, including the western portion that is in...

    • Sawtooth National Forest
      (pp. 193-196)

      If you stand on the shore of handsome Redfish Lake northwest of Ketchum and look westward, you can admire the jagged peaks of the Sawtooth Range towering above you. This is one of the most splendid sights in the country. Redfish Lake is at the northern end of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, the most visited national recreation area in the United States. The visitor center at the northern end of Redfish Lake has information to help plan your visit to the area. The Sawtooth Mountains are mostly in the Sawtooth Wilderness.

      The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is at the...


    • Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
      (pp. 198-207)

      Most of Nevada’s 6.3 million acres of national forest land is encompassed in the vast Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. This national forest is scattered over much of Nevada and eastern California. Two of its units reach the Oregon and Idaho borders on the north, one is isolated in the Las Vegas area, two are in the Reno–Carson City area, and several units are across central Nevada. For many years the Humboldt National Forest in central and northern Nevada and the Toiyabe National Forest, mostly in the Reno–Carson City–LasVegas area, were separate forests, but they have now been combined...


    • Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
      (pp. 209-210)

      Although the gorge of the Columbia River east of Portland, Oregon, was a part of the Mt. Hood National Forest, it is now the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area with a separate administrative unit. The gorge is incredible with its dozens of first-class waterfalls. Interstate 84 between the Columbia River and the Mt. Hood National Forest provides easy access to the trails and numerous waterfalls. Fifteen and thirty million years ago, two major lava flows covered the area and, as the lava cooled, it formed basalt. The Columbia River was powerful enough to erode a gorge in the basalt...

    • Deschutes National Forest
      (pp. 211-217)

      The Deschutes National Forest is a land of contrasts, with tall volcanoes of the Cascade Range bearing glaciers on their flanks, subalpine forests of firs, parklike ponderosa pine forests, dry scrubby areas of sagebrush, and reminders of past volcanic activities. Everywhere, it seems, are lava flows, cinder cones, lava tubes, volcanic lakes, and pumice flats. Extraordinary views of rugged volcanic landscapes are easily accessible in Newberry National Volcanic Monument (administered by the Deschutes National Forest), along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Highway, and along the McKenzie Pass Highway.

      The national monument begins about 10 miles south of Bend and consists of...

    • Fremont National Forest
      (pp. 217-220)

      The Fremont National Forest is surrounded by high desert country, and the national forest itself is on the east side of the Cascade Range. To get a preview of the transition between high desert and forested mountains, head to the Goodlow Mountain Natural Area 43 miles from Klamath Falls. This 1,260-acre tract goes from high desert sagebrush steppe to ponderosa pine savanna to ponderosa pine–white fir forest. The topography is gently rolling with a low butte known as Goodlow Mountain at the edge of the sagebrush steppe. Beyond the summit of the butte are the forest communities. The dominant...

    • Malheur National Forest
      (pp. 220-223)

      One of the great things about the Malheur National Forest is that almost any point of interest is accessible to most forest visitors. Two wildernesses are in the forest. Although Monument Rock Wilderness is wild and rugged, the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness is visited by most people.

      Most of the Malheur National Forest is in the southern part of the Blue Mountains. Vegetation types range from grassslands and sage to juniper woodlands to forests of pines and firs. Alpine lakes are present as well as alpine meadows, even though the highest elevation is 9,038 feet.

      To start your forest adventure, you...

    • Mt. Hood National Forest
      (pp. 223-227)

      The majestic snow-capped Mt. Hood (pl. 40) is the centerpiece of this national forest. Although the 11,240-foot summit of Mt. Hood is in a wilderness area, several of the attractions around it are more readily visited. Even if you wish to climb Mt. Hood, you will do so from impressive Timberline Lodge, reached by a paved but curvy mountain road. The climb to the summit of Mt. Hood from the lodge and back requires a minimum of 12 hours. Most climbers use the Hogback route, but other routes are available. Any of the routes up the south face of the...

    • Ochoco National Forest
      (pp. 227-229)

      The main mountain range in the Ochoco National Forest is the Blue Mountains, a relatively low range whose highest peak in the national forest is 7,165-foot Snow Mountain. The main attractions in the Ochoco National Forest are several campgrounds, a number of hiking trails, fishing, particularly for rainbow trout, hunting as there are ample deer, and rockhounding, as well as viewing some interesting and scenic rock formations. The national forest consists of three noncontiguous units.

      Start your exploration by taking U.S. Highway 26 east from Prineville and parallel Marks Creek into the national forest. On either side of the highway...

    • Rogue River National Forest
      (pp. 230-234)

      The Rogue River National Forest lies mostly in the Southern Cascade Range and has several impressive mountain peaks, picturesque rivers and streams, and several historic sites. Many hiking trails including a number of short and easy ones lead to spectacular sites.

      You may wish to divide your exploration into three parts—one north of Prospect, one in the middle of the forest in the vicinity of the community of Butte Falls, and one near the California border west of Ashland.

      To explore the northern part of the national forest above Prospect, take the Rogue-Umpqua National Scenic Byway at the entrance...

    • Siskiyou National Forest
      (pp. 234-241)

      The Kalmiopsis Wilderness is an indication that the incredible diversity of plant species is one of the features of the Siskiyou National Forest. Kalmiopsis is the name of a shrub that resembles a small rhododendron with bright rose pink flowers. The wilderness area and a few small areas nearby are the only places in the world where this plant grows.

      The Siskiyou National Forest occupies part of the Coast Ranges and Klamath Mountains in southwestern Oregon and a small part of the Siskiyou Mountains in northwestern California. Not only are there unusual plants in the national forest, but there are...

    • Siuslaw National Forest
      (pp. 241-247)

      The Siuslaw National Forest is a study in contrasts. The three ecosystems in the forest are as different as night and day. The lower stretch of national forest along the Pacific Ocean is a huge complex of sand dunes, whereas the northern stretch is rocky coastline with picturesque promontories and wild, turbulent water. Immediately east of these coastal ecosystems is the temperate rainforest of the Coast Ranges with old-growth forests.

      We began with the sand dunes, which are in the special Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. This extensive area of sand dunes parallels the Pacific Ocean for 40 miles, most...

    • Umatilla National Forest
      (pp. 247-250)

      The northern reaches of the Blue Mountains are the dominant features of the Umatilla National Forest. The wildest and wooliest part has been set asid as the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. The Wenaha River has carved a deep and scenic gorge along the southern boundary of the wilderness, and there is a rough hiking trail that attempts to follow the course of the river. Along the northern edge of the wilderness are four areas that are interesting and fairly accessible. Just south of the Misery Springs Campground on Ray Ridge is the best viewpoint for looking into the wilderness area. Farther west,...

    • Umpqua National Forest
      (pp. 250-253)

      The Umpqua National Forest is a land of old-growth forests, tumultuous waterfalls, turbulent rivers, and rugged mountains on the western edge of the Cascade Range.

      The northern part of the Rogue-Umpqua National Scenic Byway, State Route 138, crosses the heart of the Umpqua National Forest. It is also called The Highway of Waterfalls. From Roseburg, the scenic byway proceeds eastward, entering the national forest just before the Fall Creek Trailhead as it follows the North Fork Umpqua River. This is a Wild and Scenic River, great for whitewater rafting all the way to Soda Springs Dam. This is a major...

    • Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
      (pp. 254-257)

      The Wallowa Mountains and part of the Blue Mountains are in the Wallowa part of the national forest, whereas the Snake River and Hells Canyon are in the Whitman part of the national forest. Until 1954, these were two separate national forests, but they are now united into one administrative unit.

      The Snake River has carved the 8,000-foot deep Hells Canyon. It is the deepest gorge in the United Sates, topping the Grand Canyon by 1,000 feet. The river forms the boundary between Oregon and Idaho, and Hells Canyon is in both states. The gorge and its surrounding areas are...

    • Willamette National Forest
      (pp. 257-265)

      You might think that with all or part of nine wilderness areas in the Willamette National Forest there would be nothing left for people wanting nonwilderness experiences. But such is not the case. Although the marvelous scenery in the wilderness areas are off-limits to the physically handicapped and the elderly, there is scenery elsewhere in the national forest. It is even possible to nibble around the edges of some of the wilderness areas.

      From the west are four major access points to the national forest. State Route 22 from Salem enters the northern part of the Willamette at the west...

    • Winema National Forest
      (pp. 266-268)

      The Winema National Forest is on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range. The best known feature of this national forest is Mt. Thielsen, whose slender, spirelike peak is a landmark for miles around. The upper 2,000 feet of the mountain stands above timberline. Just below timberline are stands of mountain hemlock, fir, and whitebark pine. The dominant tree on the lower slopes is lodgepole pine.

      Immediately east of Crater Lake National Park, the Winema National Forest has developed the Desert Forest Journeys hiking and driving tours. Three half-mile hiking trails and a 3.5-mile driving route are off of U.S....


    • Ashley National Forest
      (pp. 270-272)

      Most visitors to the Ashley National Forest will head straight for the incredibly scenic Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area (pl. 48). The wildly colorful canyons were seen in 1869 and 1872 by explorer Major John Wesley Powell who gave the canyons their descriptive name. The National Recreation Area extends into Wyoming and is administered entirely by the Forest Service. You may reach the National Recreation Area from Green River and Rock Springs, Wyoming, at the northern end, or from Vernal, Utah, at the southern end.

      U.S. Highway 191 and State Route 44 make up the Flaming Gorge–Uintas National Scenic...

    • Dixie National Forest
      (pp. 273-283)

      The hot climate of the Dixie National Forest around St. George reminded early Mormon settlers of the Deep South they had left behind, and the region has been referred to as Dixie ever since. It can also be called Color Country because some of the most vivid limestone, sandstone, and siltstone rocks are now intensely red or pink. By contrast, there are also white cliffs. Combined with deep green coniferous forests, Color Country is appropriate. Although these colorful and often fanciful rock formations are well known for nearby national parks such as Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon and for national...

    • Fishlake National Forest
      (pp. 284-288)

      Fish Lake (pl. 50) is the primary attraction in the Fishlake National Forest for many people. This beautiful 2,600-acre lake has the outline of a giant fish. Personally, I think it looks more like a whale. The depression that the lake has filled was caused by geologic faulting. When glacial deposits dammed the northern end of the depression, Fish Lake was formed. The lake is at an elevation of 8,500 feet and the weather is always cool. Most of the crystal-clear water is around 90 feet deep or more, with a maximum depth of 120 feet. Fishing is great for...

    • Manti-LaSal National Forest
      (pp. 288-298)

      The Manti-LaSal National Forest is three forests in one. That part of the forest in central Utah is in the Wasatch Plateau. Until 1949, it was the separate Manti National Forest. In the southeastern corner of Utah, the national forests include the LaSal Mountains east of Moab and the Abajo Mountains west of Monticello. These two ranges made up the LaSal National Forest. In 1949, the Manti and the LaSal were united into one administrative unit.

      The Manti Mountains is the local name for the Wasatch Plateau in central Utah, which rises nearly 2,000 feet above Castle Valley (pl. 51)...

    • Uinta National Forest
      (pp. 299-302)

      Immediately east of Salt Lake City are the high mountains of the Wasatch Range. The side of the mountains that faces Salt Lake City is referred to as the Front, and that part of the forest that extends from Salt Lake City’s southern suburbs to Nephi is in the Uinta National Forest.

      Although there are three wilderness areas in the national forest, excellent highways provide easy access to most of the others features of the forest. Because of its proximity to Salt Lake City and towns and cities along Interstate 15, the Uinta National Forest is heavily visited.

      The two...

    • Wasatch-Cache National Forest
      (pp. 302-309)

      In 1973, the Cache National Forest east of Ogden and the Wasatch National Forest east of Salt Lake City were combined into a single administrative unit, becoming the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The Utah part of the Cache National Forest was added to the Wasatch, whereas the Idaho part was absorbed by the Caribou National Forest. To describe the points of interest in the forest better, the forests will be discussed separately.

      The Wasatch National Forest includes much of the high-mountain areas of the Uinta Mountains east from Salt Lake City. The national forest also includes the southern portion of the...


    • Colville National Forest
      (pp. 311-313)

      People may be attracted to this national forest in what the Forest Service calls “the forgotten corner of Washington” by the many lakes and streams teeming with fish. They may come because of the tranquil, verdant valleys and the mountains that are the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. They may want to enjoy the scenic drives that wind through these mountains. They may just want to enjoy nature and the chance to see bighorn sheep, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, black bear (pl. 57), bobcats, cougars, lynx, moose, badgers, wolverines, or even rare grizzly bears and the only herd of...

    • Gifford Pinchot National Forest
      (pp. 314-322)

      Most visitors to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest head for Mt. St. Helens to see the destruction and recovery from the explosive eruption of Mt. St. Helens at 8:32 a.m. on Sunday, May 18, 1980. At that moment, the north face of the 9,677-foot mountain collapsed during an earthquake that measured 5.1 on the Richter scale. An avalanche of massive rock and ice debris forcibly struck Spirit Lake, crossed a ridge nearly 1,400 feet high, and roared tumultuously down the North Fork of the Toutle River for 14 miles. Pressurized gases within the volcano exploded through the avalanche and produced...

    • Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
      (pp. 322-329)

      From the Canadian border to the northern edge of Mt. Rainier National Park, the Mt. Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest occupies the entire western slopes of the Cascade Mountains. This national forest was originally two separate forests, but they were combined into one in 1974. A small portion of the Mt. Baker–Snoqualmie is administered by the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests.

      This is an area of dramatic landscapes, with numerous mountains above 7,000 feet, some with glaciers, alpine meadows, glacial lakes, and old-growth forests. Two volcanoes are here—Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak. When you see steam and smell sulfur...

    • Okanogan National Forest
      (pp. 329-332)

      The Okanogan National Forest has two different appearances. The western side has the jagged peaks, deep valleys, cathedral forests, and alpine tundra of the Cascade Mountains. The eastern side is rolling hills, parklike ponderosa pine forests, and tranquil meadows.

      The huge Pasayten Wilderness is the epitome of the Cascades. Cathedral Peak near the Canadian border, Nanny Goat Mountain, Frosty Pass, and the Three Pinnacles conjure up images of this range. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail goes over several passes on its route south from the Canadian border. Favorite trailheads to the wilderness area are from the Iron Gate Campground...

    • Olympic National Forest
      (pp. 332-338)

      Except for parts of Hawaii and Alaska, the northwestern corner of the State of Washington receives more rainfall, an average of 12 feet annually, than any other place in the United States. Because of this high amount of precipitation, this region of Washington is occupied by some of the most lush temperate rainforests you will ever see. This corner of the state is occupied by the Olympic Peninsula, a 6,500 square mile area surrounded on three sides by saltwater: the Pacific Ocean to the west, Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north, and the inland waters of Puget Sound...

    • Wenatchee National Forest
      (pp. 338-344)

      It would be very difficult to find anywhere in the United States with more electrifying scenery than in the North Cascade Range, where cathedral forests fill deep valleys, where waterfalls tumble and mountain streams rumble, where snow-capped and glacier-bearing high peaks are punctuated by deep blue lakes and glacial tarns. The land from the crest of these mountains east to the Columbia River is in the Wenatchee National Forest, although it is sometimes difficult to know when you have left the Wenatchee and entered the Okanogan, Mt. Baker–Snoqualmie, and Gifford Pinchot National Forests, which are contiguous on most sides....

    (pp. 345-346)
    (pp. 347-358)
    (pp. 359-374)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 375-375)