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Whychus Canyon Preserve

More information about Deschutes Land Trust's Whychus Canyon Preserve.
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Nearly two miles of Whychus Creek runs through the Deschutes Land Trust's Whychus Canyon Preserve. Photo: Gary Miller.

We doubled the size of Whychus Canyon Preserve! Learn more about the new addition.

Whychus Canyon Preserve is a 930 acre property on Whychus Creek near Sisters, Oregon (see maps below). With four miles of Whychus Creek, high quality grasslands, and old growth juniper stands, Whychus Canyon supports a wide variety of fish and wildlife. Learn more about this spectacular place below.

Why it is a conservation priority

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Whychus Creek is home to native salmon and steelhead. Photo: Jay Mather.

Whychus Canyon Preserve protects 3.7 miles of Whychus Creek providing high quality habitat for the reintroduction of salmon and steelhead to the upper Deschutes basin. The Preserve is home to outstanding canyon scenery and a host of wildlife species: redband trout, mule deer, rocky mountain elk, golden eagles, ash-throated flycatchers, and spotted bats to name a few. The conservation of Whychus Canyon also buffers adjacent public lands.


A Steelhead Stronghold 

Whychus Canyon Preserve, Camp Polk Meadow Preserve, and Rimrock Ranch create a critical stronghold of spawning and rearing habitat for the reintroduction of steelhead to the upper basin. Whychus Creek was historically the upper basin's most productive steelhead stream. Protecting critical lands on Whychus Creek is a major step in rebuilding the wild steelhead run of Deschutes River. That's why the Land Trust and our partners are committed to protecting and restoring the habitat needed to fulfill this dream. Our collective work has become a national model for collaborative stream restoration.  


What to see

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Balsamroot blooms at Whychus Canyon Preserve. Photo: MA Willson.

  • Watch for wildflowers: Whychus Canyon Preserve is home to a host of native wildflowers. The Preserve's sagebrush plateaus are the first to warm up each spring delighting hikers with some of the earliest blooms.  
  • Learn some history: The Santiam Wagon Road crosses the Preserve, providing a glimpse into one of the main paths of commerce and settlement for Central Oregon. Walk the nearby Wagon Road to learn more.
  • Explore Whychus Creek: Two miles of Whychus Creek flow through the rock canyons of the Preserve. Hearty hikers can follow trails down to the creek and enjoy the lush ribbon of green vegetation.
  • Enjoy scenic vistas: Hikers can enjoy spectacular scenic vistas from rock outcroppings above the canyon rim. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes as you climb the rock ledges.


Visiting Whychus Canyon Preserve
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Hikers enjoy an early spring day at Whychus Canyon Preserve. Photo: Gary Miller.

Whychus Canyon Preserve is open year-round, with limited access in the winter months due to snowfall. Visitors can join the Land Trust for a guided tour of the property or explore it on your own.

There are several miles of trails (see the trail map) at the Preserve that allow you to explore on foot Whychus Creek and the canyon rim. Our trails provide the first public access to Whychus Creek downstream of Sisters.

Restoration and Education Activities

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Encroaching juniper have been thinned at Whychus Canyon Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.

Initial restoration efforts at Whychus Canyon Preserve have focused on restoring the native forests of the Preserve. Learn more about how thinning projects benefit aspen and ponderosa pine.

Whychus Canyon Preserve Map

The map below shows the location of Whychus Canyon Preserve along with other Land Trust conserved lands. View driving directions to the Preserve. View the trail map for Whychus Canyon Preserve or download a georeferenced map for use in mapping apps.

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Whychus Canyon Preserve Donors

The Land Trust is so thankful to the individuals and organizations that helped make Whychus Canyon Preserve possible. Major support came from: the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Pelton-Round Butte Mitigation Fund, Portland General Electric, and the Nature Conservancy. 


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