Camp Polk Meadow Preserve

A 151 acre meadow Preserve outside of Sisters, Oregon.
  • Hindman Springs Area open during daylight hours, year round.
  • Short gravel walking trail.
  • Wetlands, meadow, aspen groves and pine stands.
  • Spring wildflowers, birding hot spot, spectacular fall colors.

The Land Trust protected the 151 acre Camp Polk Meadow Preserve in 2000. Located near  Sisters, Oregon (see map below), the Preserve contains approximately 1.4 miles of Whychus Creek with wetlands, meadows, aspen groves and ponderosa pine stands. It is home to a variety of plant and wildlife species and is one of Central Oregon’s birding hot spots. Camp Polk Meadow Preserve also has a long and illustrious history as a crossroads for Native Americans, explorers, soldiers and settlers. The Hindman barn on the Preserve is believed to be one of Deschutes County’s oldest structures.

  • What to See
    • Great horned owl at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
      Great horned owl at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
      Watch for wildlife:
      Camp Polk Meadow is home to deer, cougar, otters, elk and many species of birds (~160 species observed). See the Preserve’s bird list or help with bird surveys
    • Learn some history: Camp Polk Meadow has played a key role in Central Oregon’s history for more than 150 years. Learn more about this history or read Biography of a Place, Martin Winch's book about Camp Polk Meadow and the history of Central Oregon.
    • Brush up on your plants: Camp Polk Meadow Preserve protects a diverse array of plant families and is home to the rare Peck’s Penstemon. Spring time brings a riot of color to the Preserve, often setting the lower meadow ablaze with purple lupine and native iris.
    • Discover the story of native fish: The portion of Whychus Creek that flows through Camp Polk Meadow is home to salmon and steelhead. The Land Trust completed a major restoration of Whychus Creek in 2012 to benefit fish and wildlife. Learn more about the restoration.
  • Conservation Values

    Releasing steelhead at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.  Photo: Land Trust.
    Releasing steelhead at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
    Camp Polk Meadow Preserve protects more than two miles of Whychus Creek with high quality habitat for salmon and steelhead. The Preserve has important wetlands, meadows, aspen groves, and ponderosa pine stands that provide a home to a host of wildlife species. The Land Trust manages the Preserve to protect these characteristics.



  • Restoration Activities

    The Land Trust manages Camp Polk Meadow Preserve to protect and, where necessary, restore fish and wildlife habitat. Since acquiring the Preserve in 2000, the Land Trust has completed a variety of restoration projects including:

    • Stream restoration: In 2012, we completed a major, multi-year restoration of Whychus Creek and its surrounding meadow at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Visit our Whychus Creek restoration page for more information.
    • 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 at the Preserve is currently focused in the stream restoration project area.
    • Hindman Springs restoration: In 2002, we planted more than 2,000 willow and dogwoods in the Hindman Springs portion of the Preserve. Now robust vegetation protects the banks of the springs keeping the water cool and clean. In 2017 we began another project to restore more native plant communities in this portion of the Preserve. This restoration project involves removing non-native vegetation using a process called soil solarization and then re-planting new native plants. Learn more about the project.



  • Know Before You Go

    Camp Polk Meadow Preserve is divided into two parts: the Hindman Springs Area and the rest of the meadow. The Hindman Springs Area is open to the public during daylight hours year-round. The rest of the meadow is closed unless on an authorized Land Trust visit.


    The Hindman Springs Area offers the following amenities:

    • Informational kiosk with shady benches
    • Small parking lot
    • Short gravel walking trail
    • Seasonal toilet

    There are no trash removal services.


    Preserve guidelines

    Use of Camp Polk Meadow Preserve is conditional upon following these and any other posted rules:

    • Pedestrian travel only; no bike, horse, or motorized vehicle use.
    • Stay on trails and respect restrictions as posted.
    • Removal or disturbance of plants, wildlife, and historical artifacts is prohibited.
    • Dogs are not allowed at the Preserve.
    • No hunting, fishing, camping, campfires, smoking, or unmanned aircraft use.
    • Commercial use and private events are prohibited.

    Please note: Camp Polk Meadow 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

    Camp Polk Meadow Preserve is located northeast of Sisters, Oregon. The map below shows the location of the Preserve along with other Land Trust conserved lands. Detailed driving directions, including downloadable PDFs, can be found below.


    Driving Directions to Camp Polk Meadow Preserve:
    Camp Polk Meadow Preserve kiosk coordinates (UTM NAD83): 618002, 4908855

    From Hwy 126: Turn onto Camp Polk Road (toward Aspen Lakes Golf Course). Drive 3.1 miles and take a right onto gravel road just before Cemetery Road.  At top of hill continue on the gravel road to the right.  You will see the Preserve parking area and informational kiosk on the right hand side of the road.

    From Sisters: Turn north on N. Locust Road (Camp Polk Road). Drive 2.9 miles to the Camp Polk Road/ Wilt Road intersection and take a right on Camp Polk Road.  Drive 0.4 miles and take a left onto gravel road just after Cemetery Road.  Continue as above.

    From Bend: Take highway 20 to Sisters and turn right on Cloverdale Lane (between mile markers 5 and 4). Continue driving on Cloverdale until Hwy 126 intersection.  Take a left on Hwy 126, drive 1/4 mile and turn right on Camp Polk Road.  Drive 3.1 miles and take right onto gravel road just before Cemetery Road.  Continue as above.

    Camp Polk Meadow: Driving Directions (Adobe PDF)