Portland Wilderness

Middle Santiam Wilderness
Middle Santiam Essentials
Size: 7,500 acres.
Year Designated: 1984.
Location: Western Oregon.
Easiest Access: From Sweet Home, take U.S. 20 east about four miles. Turn north on Quartzville Road and continue for 24.7 miles, then head east on Forest Service Road 11 for 2.6 miles. When you reach Forest Service Road 1142, turn south and continue four miles to the McQuade Creek Trailhead.
Season: Year-round, with spring and fall being most pleasant.
Wilderness Fees/Permits: None.
Maps: A Wilderness map that includes Menagerie Wilderness is available for $2 from the district ranger.
Management: Sweet Home Ranger District: Willamette National Forest

Mature old-growth trees shadow virtually all of this wilderness, with Douglas fir, western red cedar, and western hemlock at lower elevations and true firs higher up. Some of the trees, estimated to be 450 years old, tower to more than 200 feet. Gently sloping, benchy terrain in the lower country starts at about 1,600 feet and rises to steep slopes, ridges, and peaks that reach 5,022 feet above sea level. The most prominent geological feature is 4,965-foot Chimney Peak, a lava plug in the northwestern portion.

The Middle Santiam River flows through the area, slowing into quiet pools with mossy banks. Both the river and Donaca Lake teem with native fish, including chinook salmon during spawning season. Not far to the south lies Menagerie Wilderness.

Three seldom-hiked trails provide access routes to the area: McQuade Creek (6.1 miles); Chimney Peak, a short spur leading almost to the summit of Chimney Peak; and Middle Santiam (11.4 miles), which allows you to cross the area.


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