Whychus Canyon Preserve

A 930 acre Preserve with rimrock canyons on Whychus Creek northeast of Sisters, Oregon.
  • Open to the public year round.
  • 7+ miles of walking and hiking trails.
  • Outstanding canyon scenery, Whychus Creek, juniper forests.
  • Wildflowers, Santiam Wagon Road, scenic views of Cascade Mountains.


Whychus Canyon Preserve is a 930 acre Preserve on Whychus Creek near Sisters, Oregon. It was first established in 2010 and an additional 480 acres was added in 2014. The Preserve contains four miles of Whychus Creek, high quality grasslands, old growth juniper, cottonwood and aspen stands. With such a diverse range of habitats, Whychus Canyon Preserve is home to a  variety of fish and wildlife.

**August 2016 Whychus Canyon Preserve Update: massive creek restoration underway! Learn more about this awesome project to improve habitat for fish and wildlife.**

 

  • What to See
    • 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: Four miles of Whychus Creek flow through the rock canyons and meadows 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.
  • Conservation Values

    Whychus Canyon Preserve protects 4 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.

    Whychus Canyon Preserve connects on the northern end with privately-owned and Land Trust protected Rimrock Ranch. This means six miles of Whychus Creek and 2,053 acres of surrounding land are conserved forever. Many thanks to our funders!

     

  • Restoration Activities

    The Land Trust manages Whychus Canyon Preserve to protect and, where necessary, restore fish and wildlife habitat. Since acquiring the Preserve in 2010, the Land Trust has completed a variety of restoration projects including:

    • Forest restoration: Initial restoration efforts at Whychus Canyon Preserve have focused on restoring the native forests of the Preserve to a healthy, open ponderosa pine and juniper savanna that provides high quality wildlife habitat and helps reduce fire risk. Learn more about how thinning projects benefit aspen and ponderosa pine.
    • Stream restoration: We are currently working with our restoration partners to restore six miles of Whychus Creek (Whychus Canyon Preserve downstream to Rimrock Ranch). Parts of this restoration will be similar to the Camp Polk Meadow restoration where the creek was returned to its historic meandering path through the meadow. Restoration work has begun! Check our our restoration updates.
    • Managing weeds. Noxious weeds are a reality at all Land Trust protected lands. If they are not actively managed they compromise healthy native plant communities. Weed management is currently focused in the stream restoration project area.
  • Know Before You Go

    Whychus Canyon Preserve is accessed via the Goodrich Road trailhead. The Preserve is open to the public during daylight hours year-round.


    Whychus Canyon Preserve offers the following amenities:

    • Informational kiosk
    • Parking area
    • 7+ miles of hiking trails
    • Santiam Wagon Road Interpretive Trail
    • Scenic overlooks
    • Benches

    There is no drinking water or no trash removal services. Snow may block access to the Preserve in the winter.


    Preserve guidelines

    Use of Whychus Canyon Preserve is conditional upon following these and any other posted rules:

    • Dogs must be kept on leash at ALL TIMES. Please clean up after your pet.
    • Pedestrian travel only: no bike, horse or motorized vehicle use.
    • Stay on roads and trails.
    • Removal or disturbance of plants, wildlife, and historical artifacts is prohibited. 
    • Catch and release fishing with barbless hooks is permitted subject to applicable state regulations.
    • No hunting, camping, campfires, or smoking.
    • Commercial use and private events are prohibited.


    Please note: Whychus Canyon Preserve is private property owned by Deschutes Land Trust. Your use of the property is conditional upon these and any other posted rules. Preserve users failing to observe posted rules are trespassing and subject to applicable laws and penalties. Visitors to the Preserve may encounter risks associated with terrain, wildlife, and weather. Please exercise appropriate caution: the Deschutes Land Trust is not liable for injuries to Preserve visitors.

     

  • Driving Directions + Maps

    Whychus Canyon Preserve is located northeast of Sisters, Oregon. Access to the Preserve is via the Goodrich Road Trailhead. Detailed driving directions, including downloadable PDFs, can be found below.

    Trail maps: View the trail map for Whychus Canyon Preserve or download a georeferenced map for use in mapping apps.


    The map below shows the location of Whychus Canyon Preserve along with other Land Trust conserved lands.

     


    Driving directions to Whychus Canyon Preserve:


    Please note: all public access to Whychus Canyon Preserve is via the Goodrich Road entrance to the Peserve.

    Whychus Canyon Preserve kiosk coordinates (UTM NAD83): 623319, 4910477

    From Bend: Drive northwest on Hwy 20 for approximately 13 miles. Turn north on Fryrear Road and continue 5.5 miles to intersection with Hwy 126.  Turn left on Hwy 126 for 1 mile, then turn right on Goodrich Road. Follow Goodrich Road for 1.5 miles until the paved road begins to curve sharply to the right. Continue straight at the curve onto a gravel road and follow this road 1.3 miles north to a split in the road. You’ll see a Preserve welcome sign straight ahead. Continue straight north for another 0.4 miles to the kiosk and parking area.

    From Sisters: Drive east from Sisters on Hwy 126 for approximately 5.4 miles. Turn left on Goodrich Road. Follow Goodrich Road for 1.5 miles until the paved road begins to curve sharply to the right. Continue straight at the curve onto a gravel road and follow this road 1.3 miles north to a split in the road. You’ll see a Preserve welcome sign straight ahead. Continue straight north for another 0.4 miles to the kiosk and parking area.

    Whychus Canyon Preserve: Driving Directions (Adobe PDF)

     

     

  • Special Thanks

    Special thanks to our 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.