Mill Creek Wilderness, Oregon

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Mill Creek Wilderness

The beautiful Mill Creek Wilderness, located about 50 miles northeast of Bend in the Ochoco National Forest, is known for its deep canyons, towering rock formations, and splendid array of wildlife. Read More

  • A designated wilderness area located about 50 miles northeast of Bend.
  • 21 miles of trails for hikers and backpackers.
  • The Wilderness covers over 17,400 acres of the beautiful Ochoco National Forest.
  • A popular area for deer hunting.


One of the most scenic areas in the northeast part of Central Oregon is the Mill Creek Wilderness. Mill Creek is the largest of the three wilderness areas found within the Ochoco National Forest. Designated as a wilderness area in 1984, it spreads across more than 17,000 acres of varied terrain. Within the Wilderness are alpine meadows, deep canyons, densely forested areas and a variety of fascinating rock formations. It is a popular destination for hiking, backpacking, and hunting.

Location and Information

Mill Creek Wilderness is located in Central Oregon approximately 50 miles northeast of Bend. Take Hwy 26 past Prineville to NE Mill Creek Road (which turns into Wildcat Road) and turn north.

Contact Information

Ochoco National Forest, 3160 NE Third St., Prineville, OR 97754. Phone: 541-416-6500.  Visit the website here.


  • Hiking and Backpacking – Although unmaintained, there are 3 main trails that wind for 21 miles through this scenic wilderness.
  • Hunting – Deer hunting is popular in this area. Like other wildernesses in the area, the Mill Creek Wilderness is a controlled-hunt rifle area.

Fun Facts

  • Mill Creek Wilderness was named after Crook County’s first sawmill, which was built on Mill Creek.
  • Visitors to Mill Creek Wilderness enjoy viewing the Twin Pillars, a fascinating rock formation comprised of two volcanic plugs that are 200 feet tall.
  • An array of beautiful wildlife inhabits this area, including mountain lions, elk, deer, black bear, pileated woodpeckers, and wild turkeys.
  • Thundereggs have been found in a section of the Wilderness known as Desolation Canyon. The thunderegg became Oregon’s state rock in 1965. Although ordinary looking at first glance, these rocks are absolutely stunning when cut in half and polished. Unfortunately, rock collecting is not allowed within the Wilderness.