Willow Springs Preserve

A 130 acre Preserve along Whychus Creek outside of Sisters, Oregon.
  • Guided tours only.
  • No established trails.
  • Willow-lined Whychus Creek, cottonwood and aspen stands, creekside meadows.
  • Rimrock cliffs, brillant fall colors, and Whychus Creek.


The Land Trust acquired and protected the 130 acre Willow Springs Preserve in 2017. The Preserve includes one mile of Whychus Creek, creekside meadows, aspen and cottonwood stands, and rimrock cliffs. The Preserve is located outside of Sisters, Oregon (see map below) and is home to a host of wildlife species including salmon and steelhead, mule deer, rocky mountain elk, raptors, and numerous songbirds. Take our virtual tour or read below to learn more about the property.

The acquisition was made possible by the Land Trust’s
Campaign for Whychus Creek.

  • What to See

    One mile of Whychus Creek flows through Willow Springs Preserve. Photo: Jay Mather.
    One mile of Whychus Creek flows through Willow Springs Preserve. Photo: Jay Mather.
    Willow Springs Preserve can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings. When visiting:

    • Learn about Whychus Creek: One mile of Whychus Creek flows through the meadows of the Preserve. Whychus Creek provides important habitat for salmon and steelhead, songbirds, and other wildlife that forage and take cover in its streamside willows.
    • Watch for wildlife: With songbirds nesting along the creek and raptors soaring above, bird watching is always interesting. Willow Springs is also home to a host of other species from bobcat and beaver to deer and elk.
    • Enjoy fall colors: The Preserve has cottonwood and aspen stands that turn a  brilliant yellow each fall. 
  • Conservation Values

    Whychus Creek at Willow Springs Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
    Whychus Creek at Willow Springs Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
    Willow Springs Preserve protects one mile of Whychus Creek with high quality habitat for salmon, steelhead, and other wildlife. The Preserve is a rare wet meadow in an arid landscape that offers exceptional biological diversity relative to surrounding lands. Habitat types include creekside vegetation, juniper and pine woodlands, and cottonwood and aspen stands that are home to a host of wildlife species.

    Willow Springs Preserve also offers an influx of cold water from the nearby McKinney Butte Springs which significantly decrease the water temperature in this stretch of Whychus Creek. Finally, the Preserve also provides habitat connectivity between Land Trust protected lands downstream and national forest lands upstream of Sisters. The Land Trust manages the Preserve to protect these characteristics.

  • Restoration Activities

    Waging war on the weeds of Willow Springs Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
    Waging war on the weeds of Willow Springs Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
    The Land Trust manages Willow Springs Preserve to protect and, where necessary, restore fish and wildlife habitat. We are currently working to draft the management plans that will guide restoration activities at the Preserve. Initial efforts are focused on:

    • Biological inventories. The Land Trust is working to establish initial biological inventories that document the baseline conditions at the Preserve.
    • 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.
    • Long-term planning. The Land Trust is working to create the management plans that will guide the future of the Preserve. These plans will outline future restoration, as well as educational use.
  • Know Before You Go

    Willow Springs Preserve can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings. When visiting, please note that Willow Springs Preserve is a rustic nature preserve. There are no established facilities such as trails, toilets, trash removal, or parking. 


    Preserve guidelines

    Willow Springs Preserve can only be visited on guided tours or via other authorized use. All use is conditional upon following these and any other posted rules:

    • Pedestrian travel only.
    • Respect restrictions as posted.
    • Removal or disturbance of plants, wildlife, and historical artifacts is prohibited.
    • Dogs are not allowed.
    • No hunting, camping, campfires, or smoking.
    • Commercial use, private events and unauthorized public use are prohibited.


    Please note: Willow Springs 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.

  • Maps

    The map below shows the location of Willow Springs Preserve. Willow Springs Preserve can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings.