Description - The Umpqua National Forest covers nearly one million acres and is located in the western slopes of the Cascades in Southwest Oregon. The forest encompasses a diverse area of rugged peaks, high rolling meadows, sparkling rivers and lakes, and deep canyons producing a wealth of water resources, timber, forage, minerals, wildlife, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
- The Umpqua National Forest is known for countless recreation opportunities in this unique area in the Cascades, where two beautiful rivers, the North and South Umpqua begin. From the snow of the High Cascades to the white water rapids, water has formed the Forest. Explosive geologic events shaped the Umpqua's distinctive landscapes, resulting in spectacular scenery and diverse natural resources. Visitors can discover remote places of solitude. Rainfall produces an intense palette of almost surreal nature as chartreuse mosses drip from towering Douglas-firs and psychedelic lichens cover rock walls deep in river canyons.
There are two designated scenic routes on the Forest. The Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway offers waterfalls, mountain peaks, old volcanoes and lava flows, tall trees, flower-filled meadows, quiet lakes. It's easy to make a full day of the drive, longer if you want to explore or try some of the many side trips or trails. The drive starts and ends near Interstate 5 in southwestern Oregon, at the towns of Roseburg and Gold Hill. The Myrtle Creek Canyonville Scenic/Historic Route is a 68 mile tour which celebrates Douglas County history and the resources that helped build it -- gold, agriculture, and timber. Travel from Canyonville to Tiller then to Myrtle Creek.
The Umpqua National Forest contains three designated Wilderness Areas. The Mt. Thielsen Wilderness encompasses over 55,000 acres along the crest of the Cascades. Born of the same volcanic activity that created Crater Lake, this is the land of fire and ice. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the middle of the wilderness area. The Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness includes 33,000 acres ranging in elevation from 3,200 to 6,878 feet in the area which separates the drainages of the Rogue and Umpqua rivers. It is a beautiful area of high mountain meadows and hill-hugging mists. The Boulder Creek Wilderness encompasses 19,100 acres, 50 miles east of Roseburg. The wilderness is composed of dense old growth forests and steep terrain, with Boulder Creek running through the heart of the wilderness.
The Umpqua has five buildings available for recreation rental. They include an old guard station, a cabin, a fire guard camp and two lookouts. These buildings do get booked up so reservations are necessary.
Recreation - Because of southern Oregon's mild climate, outdoor recreation is a year-round event. During the Spring, hike to waterfalls, pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by a river or stream, begin watching the changing wildflowers, or just take the family for a drive.
Fishing is popular in the many lakes and rivers during the Summer. Other summertime activities include camping, hiking, biking, boating, and whitewater.
Fall is hunting season. For those who don't hunt, mushrooming is a popular Fall activity or just come out and watch the leaves change color.
During the winter, the high country around Diamond and Lemolo lakes becomes a winter playground. Snowmobile, sled, cross-county ski, snowshoe, or just enjoy the snow-covered scenery. Diamond Lake Ranger District features a network of Nordic skiing trails nestled in scenic mountains. A private company provides Snowcat transport for downhill skiing on Mt Bailey.
Made up of Class II through Class IV rapids, the beautiful North Umpqua River is what Oregon whitewater is all about. Even more impressive than the whitewater is the scenery you'll enjoy on the river -- steep forested canyon walls and sparkling green water. Local guides are available for raft trips.
Climate - Climate on the Umpqua changes with elevation. The area receives a high amount of precipitation. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April in the form of rain at the low elevations and as wet heavy snow in the higher elevations. Although snow is possible in the lowest elevations, it is infrequent. Much of the Umpqua National Forest is at the 3000-4000 foot elevation and averages about 60 inches of rain per year. Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days with moderate temperatures.
The Umpqua National Forest includes nearly a million acres within the western slopes of the Cascades in southwest Oregon. The Forest lies to the east of Roseburg and to the northwest of Crater Lake National Park. State Highway 138 runs through the north end of the Forest.