Stock landscape and outdoor adventure photos from Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest

Mount Washington Photography: The Trail Less Traveled

I’m amazed that I don’t see more pictures from the Mount Washington Wilderness Area, which is located just outside of Sisters, Oregon.  It is one of my favorite places in Central Oregon; a virtual Mecca of possible explorations. 

 

 

 Central Oregon's Mt. Washington in fall with a fresh autumn snow fall

Central Oregon's Mt. Washington in fall with a fresh autumn snow fall

 

Perhaps one of the reasons that few photographers have experience with Mount Washington is that there are almost no trails leading into its base.  To get to the cover shots, it takes a moderately good fitness level, some very good navigation skills, and a ton of patience.  For example, two of my favorite approaches into Mount Washington require 10-mile cross-country slogs through a maze of beetle-downed lodge pole pine trees.  To say that the terrain is “littered” with downfall is a gross understatement.  There are sections where you literally hike for an hour on nothing but downed trees.  With every exhausting stride, you are either stepping up onto a fallen tree or down off of a fallen tree.  One gap in concentration, and you run the risk of twisting a knee and being stranded in the very dense (and non-cell-phone- friendly) forest.  

 

 

But still, the rewards are totally worth it. In all of my trips into the backcountry surrounding Mount Washington, I have never seen another soul.  I’ve occasionally heard the voices of climbers on the upper slopes, but I’ve never run into anyone.  I think it is one of the most isolated and beautiful settings in all of Oregon.

 

 

Mt. Washington and pasque flowers high in the Mt. washington Wilderness area

Mt. Washington and pasque flowers high in the Mt. washington Wilderness area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo ofMt. Washington, Indian Paintbrush, mountain heather in the Central Oregon cascades

photo ofMt. Washington, Indian Paintbrush, mountain heather in the Central Oregon cascades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In some ways, this area is even more inviting and easier to access in the winter or early spring because huge snow drifts cover most of the fallen trees.  Each year, I like to wait for the forest service roads to melt off a little (so I can drive in as far as possible), and then I snowshoe or ski into the Eastern or Northern faces of Mount Washington.  This time of year, snow and ice still cling to the mountain’s huge rocky face giving it an even greater sense of awe.  Standing at its base, the Teton-esque vertical rise from the valley below is nothing short of spectacular. 

 

 

Winter snow scene of Mt. Washington, in the Central Oregon Cascades

Winter snow scene of Mt. Washington, in the Central Oregon Cascades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter image of Central Oregon's Mt. Washington in winter under sunny blue skies.

Winter image of Central Oregon's Mt. Washington in winter under sunny blue skies.

 

Posted by Troy McMullin

 

 

NOTE: If you want to see additional images from the Mount Washington Wilderness Area, you can browse the pictures in the Mountain Gallery on our Pacific Crest Stock photography site or search the site for “Mount Washington.”

2 Responses Subscribe to comments


  1. Come Experience Central Oregon’s Autumn: A Photo Tour and Planning Itinerary from Pacific Crest Stock - Pacific Crest Stock Photography Blog

    [...] 4. Go explore the forest service roads bordering the Mount Washington Wilderness Area. There is a wonderful network of roads that runs between highways 126 and 242 just outside of Sisters, Oregon. The roads provide access to the Mount Washington Wilderness Area and also provide great wide-open views of Black Butte, Three Fingered Jack, and Three Sisters Mountains. In September and October, the roads explode with fall color. For more information and photos from the Mount Washington Wilderness Area, see our previous entry. [...]

    Nov 04, 2009 @ 9:40 am


  2. creative visualization

    creative visualization…

    [...]Mount Washington Photography: The Trail Less Traveled – Pacific Crest Stock Photography Blog[...]…

    Jan 02, 2012 @ 8:25 am

Reply