Visit our Preserves

The Land Trust owns and manages four Community Preserves to protect natural resources like forests, streams, and meadows that our community—human and wild—need to survive. We also value our local communities and look for responsible ways to provide access for education and, when possible, low-impact recreation.


The Land Trust owns and manages four Community Preserves for the benefit of local communities. These properties are protected for wildlife habitat but also for community use. Each Preserve is unique in terms of terrain, trails, and available uses. Major Land Trust Preserves include:

  • Camp Polk Meadow Preserve: The Hindman Springs portion of this 151 acre meadow preserve can be explored for excellent birding, walking, or viewing the remnants historic Hindman Barn—the oldest structure in Deschutes County. There is a short bark-chipped trail for walking. Dogs are not allowed at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.  Find driving directions, trail maps, or more detailed Preserve information.
  • Indian Ford Meadow Preserve: A 63 acre meadow preserve with outstanding scenic views of the Cascades. Walk the 1/4 mile gravel Founder’s Trail to visit the scenic overlook with panoramic views of the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, Black Butte, and Mt. Jefferson. Leashed dogs are allowed. Find driving directions, trail maps, or more detailed Preserve information.
  • Metolius Preserve: This 1,240 acre forested preserve more than 10 miles of trails for exploring on foot or mountain bike. Visitors can also walk the 0.6 mile, gravel Becky Johnson Nature Trail along the banks of Lake Creek. Leashed dogs are allowed. Horses are allowed at the Metolius Preserve on the Lake Creek Trail. Find driving directions, trail maps, or more detailed Preserve information.
  • Whychus Canyon Preserve: A 930 acre desert and canyon preserve with 7 miles of trails. Explore Whychus Creek, canyon scenery, and enjoy outstanding scenic views. Visitors can also walk the 1.1 mile Santiam Wagon Road interpretive trail. Leashed dogs are allowed. Find driving directions, trail maps, or more detailed Preserve information.

Please note: all Preserves are open to the public during daylight hours year-round with limited access in the winter months due to snowfall. Camping, campfires, alcohol and tobacco are prohibited on all Land Trust Preserves. All Preserves are private property owned by Deschutes Land Trust. Your use of the Preserve is conditional upon posted rules. Visitors failing to observe posted rules are trespassing and subject to applicable laws and penalties.

Are there other Land Trust protected lands open to the public?
From time to time, the Land Trust works with private landowners who have protected their land to arrange property tours. Unless there is an official Land Trust outing to those properties, they are not open for visiting. Check out event page for upcoming tours.


Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I bring my dog with me hiking at a Land Trust Preserve?
Dogs are allowed on leash at the following properties: Indian Ford Meadow Preserve, the Metolius Preserve, and Whychus Canyon Preserve. Dogs are not allowed at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. We ask that you observe posted signs regarding dog use. Unfortunately, we cannot allow dogs on our Preserve tours.

Can I ride my horse at a Land Trust Preserve?
Horses are allowed on the Lake Creek Trail at the Metolius Preserve.

Can I ride my bike at a Land Trust Preserve?

Mountain biking is only allowed at the Metolius Preserve.

Can I geocache or letterbox at Land Trust Preserves?
Geocaching is not allowed at Land Trust Preserves.

I love exploring while hiking. Is it ok to go off-trail?
Sorry, no trail-blazing allowed. Hiking or biking off-trail can damage delicate wildlife habitat. We have trails and roads available on all our properties for exploring.

Can I arrange a group tour of your Preserves?
Yes! We encourage educational use of our Preserves. Please see our group visits page to learn more.

Can I use a Land Trust Preserve for commercial purposes?
No, the Land Trust does not allow commercial use of our Preserves. Learn more.

Can I use a Land Trust Preserve for a private event?
No, the Land Trust does not allow private use of our Preserves. Yes, even for your wedding, elopement, memorial, reunion, protest and other event.  Learn more.