Deschutes National Forest

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About Deschutes National Forest

What if we told you that the 1,200 square foot Newberry Volcano in Deschutes National Forest could easily fit the entire state of Rhode Island within its borders. That’s pretty impressive, right? The still seismically active volcano, designated a national volcanic monument, offers plenty of lava-rific fun in the forest. Sling on a headlamp to explore the mile long Lava River Cave--don’t worry, the bats don’t mind visitors. Or hike along the interpretive trail at Big Obsidian Flow, where you can scramble over the sleek, 1,300-year-old lava flow formed of black glass and pumice. If you get all lava-ed out, no worries, there’s plenty else to do within Deschutes’ 1.6 million acres of forest. Hike, bike, hunt, swim, paddle, ski, horseback ride, climb, camp, fish. Phew! Believe it or not, the list actually goes on. Turns out, 1.6 million acres gives you a lot of room to get your outdoor adventuring on. Whatever you decide to do in Deschutes National Forest, make sure you take a moment or two to just appreciate the rugged, verdant beauty of the surrounding Cascade Mountains. Ahhhh… now, back to playing.

Campgrounds in Deschutes

Little Crater Campground

1. Little Crater Campground

Add this to your bucket list, stat: pitching a tent inside a volcano! Mind eruption. You can do just that at Little Crater Campground; the 50 sites...

Natala
Natala : Wonderful spot -- where almost every camp site is lakeside! Each site is equipped with a fire ring, picnic table and parking....
34 Saves
Driftwood Campground

2. Driftwood Campground

Driftwood Campground offers lakeside living at its finest—all 18 of the tent-only sites sit on the bank of the serene and scenic Three Creek Lake....

11 Saves
Cold Spring Campground

3. Cold Spring Campground

Cold Spring Campground is a perfect option for families with kids—there are lots of short hikes in the area, and the campground is situated in a...

8 Saves
Paulina Lake Campground

4. Paulina Lake Campground

Paulina Lake Campground offers breathtaking hiking trails, easy lake access and—get excited!—toilets that flush! It’s one of the nicest campgrounds...

Anna
Anna: This campground is situated right next to the lake but shaded beneath the trees. Not a ton of privacy between sites but also...
8 Saves
Todd Lake Campground

5. Todd Lake Campground

Wake to the sound of gently lapping water when you camp on the shores of Todd Lake. The three lakeside campsites are hike in, and should only take...

7 Saves
Little Lava Lake Campground

6. Little Lava Lake Campground

Explore Little Lava Lake by boat or canoe, and check out the nearby lava flow by foot at this campground. The 15 sites here are reservable,...

6 Saves
Perry South Campground

7. Perry South Campground

Go fishing near Perry South Campground and you won’t feel the need to exaggerate the size of your catch when you tell your fishing tale—the bull...

5 Saves
Monty Campground

8. Monty Campground

Bask in the sun on the banks of the Metolius River or Lake Billy Chinook—both are nearby Monty Campground. The 34 campsites here are non-reservable...

5 Saves
Wyeth Campground

9. Wyeth Campground

The smallest campground in the Deschutes National Forest packs a lot into its borders. The five sites here are the perfect spot to gather with a...

Tamara
Tamara: We loooooved this campground. It's not too big and the sites are spacious and private. Plenty of shade. There's a trail that...
4 Saves
Prairie Campground

10. Prairie Campground

Spending the day at Newberry Volcanic Monument? Then spend the night at Prairie Campground, a nice spot right off of the highway that leads into...

4 Saves
Devils Lake Campground

11. Devils Lake Campground

Make sure you don your hiking shoes before you start out for Devils Lake Campground, since it’s a hike to get there! The six hike-in campsites sit...

Makenzie
Makenzie: This is the trailhead for South Sister so if your camping beware that hikers come in at all hours of the night so don't be...
2 Saves
Elk Lake Campground

12. Elk Lake Campground

You’ll have easy access to hiking trails, a boat launch, and awesome fishing spots at Elk Lake Campground. The 22 sites here are non-reservable; if...

Tally
Tally: The "resort" at Elk Lake offers campsites, cabins, a boat launch, dock & a restaurant (try the Eggs Benedict). The classic...
2 Saves
Summit Lake Campground

13. Summit Lake Campground

Looking for a real escape? Summit Lake Campground is a hidden treasure waiting to be found with only three campsites and a rocky access road that...

2 Saves
Crescent Lake Campground

14. Crescent Lake Campground

Forgotten s’more ingredients? No problemo! Clustered on a small hill overlooking Crescent Lake, the campsites here are totes popular year round,...

2 Saves
Princess Creek Campground

15. Princess Creek Campground

Frolic among the trees—fir, hemlock, and spruce, to be exact—when you stake out a spot at the densely-forested Princess Creek Campground. The 32...

Joe+Kathrina
Joe+Kathrina: Such a great site. Half the campground sites are on the highway side and the other half is facing Odell Lake - we're talking...
2 Saves
Cinder Hill Campground

16. Cinder Hill Campground

Even though Cinder Hill Campground has 108 campsites up for grabs, you’ll still get some semblance of privacy thanks to strategic between-site...

2 Saves
Fall River Campground

17. Fall River Campground

Fall asleep to the sound of the gentle Fall River streaming by when you pitch a tent at this campground (see what we did there?). Launch a canoe...

2 Saves
Camp Sherman Campground

18. Camp Sherman Campground

Nestled next the Metolius River, Camp Sherman Campground is especially busy during the summer, when the rushing water seems a welcome respite from...

1 Save
Soda Creek Campground

19. Soda Creek Campground

Booking a site next to Soda Creek doesn’t mean you’ll be privy to untapped reserves of pristine pop, but camping here is a rush nonetheless! With a...

1 Save
Blue Bay Campground

20. Blue Bay Campground

Blue Bay Campground sits near Suttle Lake and makes a great home base for those who are eager to paddle, boat, ski and splash through the lake’s...

1 Save
Big River Campground

21. Big River Campground

Real talk: there’s a good chance you’ll have the all of Big River Campground to yourself--so this might be your best bet to fulfill your lifelong...

1 Save
East Lake Campground

22. East Lake Campground

If you have to go chasing waterfalls, then make East Lake Campground your homebase—you’ll find a number of pretty falls, and plenty of TLC nearby....

1 Save
Pine Mountain Campground

23. Pine Mountain Campground

Huff and puff your way to Pine Mountain Campground, located at the summit of Pine Mountain, and you’ll be rewarded with ah-mazing views. And the...

1 Save
East Davis Lake Campground

24. East Davis Lake Campground

Shack up (or tent up) at East Davis Lake Campground. If you’re looking to flick your wrists while fly-fishing--Davis Lake is a fly-fishing-only...

1 Save
Bull Bend Campground

25. Bull Bend Campground

Calling all merpeople: Bull Bend Campground is your jam! The campground is almost completely surrounded by the swift flowing and refreshing...

Alison
Alison: Beautiful! No problems navigating the dirt road in 23ft RV -spots still available at 6pm. Widely spaced out sites, plenty of...
1 Save
Crane Prairie Campground

26. Crane Prairie Campground

With lots of space and a prime location next to the river, Crane Prairie Campground is perfect for families or large groups looking to soak in the...

1 Save
Lower Canyon Creek Campground

27. Lower Canyon Creek Campground

Lower Canyon Creek is a small but mighty campground. It has just seven campsites, but can claim two swiftly flowing bodies of water in its...

1 Save
Point Campground

28. Point Campground

With only eight campsites, this small but popular spot offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and sailing on the...

1 Save
North Davis Creek Campground

29. North Davis Creek Campground

Want to avoid noisy neighbors while you’re getting back to nature? Then North Davis Creek Campground is for you. Here you’ll find 14 non-reservable...

1 Save
Mallard Marsh Campground

30. Mallard Marsh Campground

Tell your friends to meet you at Mallard Marsh (and then for a challenge, tell them to say that 10 times fast). The 15 non-reservable campsites sit...

Annie
Annie: There is a path to the marsh kayak ramp between campsites 14 and 15, so people walk through the area regularly. All sites seem...
1 Save
Lava Lake Campground

31. Lava Lake Campground

Fishing and boating are popular activities at Lava Lake Campground, so camp here if you plan on being one with the water! The 38 campsites are...

1 Save
Newberry Group Campground

32. Newberry Group Campground

Are you and 50 of your closest friends looking to explore the ah-mazing Newberry Volcanic Monument together? Then Newberry Group Campground is for...

1 Save
Contorta Flat Campground

33. Contorta Flat Campground

A lake AND a mountain view? That’s what you get when you camp at Contorta Flat Campground, which sits on the sandy banks of Crescent Lake, with...

Krysta
Krysta: This is a great spot for tent camping! There's not much privacy in between the spaces, but the view you get with the waterfront...
1 Save
Ogden Group Campground

34. Ogden Group Campground

The wide open space at Ogden Group Campground is perfect for hosting activities and games, which makes it a great spot for scout troops or school...

Anna
Anna: This site is right on Paulina Creek which is perfect for a quick dunk! A 7 mile hiking trail to the falls and Paulina Lake...
Chief Paulina Horse Camp

35. Chief Paulina Horse Camp

Exploring the Newberry Volcanic Monument on horseback is a great way to see the area—and you’ll definitely cover a lot more ground when riding on...

1 Save
Three Creek Lake Campground

36. Three Creek Lake Campground

Canoe, swim, fish and more at Three Creek Lake Campground. Non-motorized boats are welcome to use the campground’s primitive boat ramp, and great...

1 Save
Three Creek Meadow Campground & Horsecamp

37. Three Creek Meadow Campground & Horsecamp

The best views in Deschutes just might be found at Three Creek Meadow Campground, with the rugged Three Sisters Wilderness beckoning in the...

1 Save
Sisters Cow Camp Horse Camp

38. Sisters Cow Camp Horse Camp

Don’t judge a campground by it’s funny name: yes, Sisters Cow Camp Horse Camp is a mouthful, but it’s a great option for folks looking for early...

1 Save
Todd Creek Horse Camp

39. Todd Creek Horse Camp

With only seven campsites, and situated along the gently flowing Todd Creek, this campground provides seclusion for campers and their horses....

1 Save
Riverside Campground

40. Riverside Campground

It’s bare bones—in the best way—at Riverside Campground. The sites here are less developed than other major campgrounds along the Metolius River,...

1 Save
Crescent Creek Campground

41. Crescent Creek Campground

Birders, rejoice: this small, quiet campground next to Crescent Creek is the perfect spot to spy on your feathery friends. Fishing is a popular...

1 Save
Whispering Pine Horse Camp

42. Whispering Pine Horse Camp

The nine sites at Whispering Pine Horse Camp make a great home base for exploring the Three Sisters Wilderness either on foot or horseback. At the...

1 Save
Simax Group Campground

43. Simax Group Campground

The livin’s easy at Simax Group Campground, thanks to a lakefront location, lots of picnic pavilions and—gasp!—hot shower facilities. The three...

1 Save
Sheep Springs Horse Camp

44. Sheep Springs Horse Camp

Giddy up! You and your horse will have plenty of opportunities to roam at Sheep Springs Horse Camp; both the Metolius-Windigo and Bear Valley...

Reservoir Campground

45. Reservoir Campground

Pack up your poles and tackle gear and head to Reservoir Campground; situated right next the Wickiup Reservoir, the fishing is excellent in this...

Smiling River Campground

46. Smiling River Campground

You can’t help but be happy when you’re camping at a place called “Smiling River. ” With 36 prime sites up for grabs next to the mighty Metolius...

Lava Camp Lake Campground

47. Lava Camp Lake Campground

Serious hikers will love Lava Camp Lake Campground, since it’s super close to Mt. Washington, the Three Sisters Wilderness AND the Pacific Crest...

Gorge Campground

48. Gorge Campground

Forgive us, but we have to say it—Gorge Campground is gorge-ous. Seriously, some of the forest’s tallest ponderosa pines tower above this...

Graham Corral Horse Camp

49. Graham Corral Horse Camp

Sitting snug between Summit Creek and Tandy Bay, Graham Corral Horse Camp makes for a scenic stay for you and your horse. You’ll find 13...

Rock Creek Campground

50. Rock Creek Campground

Location, location, location! Nestled along the banks of Crane Prairie Reservoir, the 32 sites at Rock Creek Campground offer plenty of privacy and...

Little Cultus Campground

51. Little Cultus Campground

This campground is great for the kiddos, since the nearby Little Cultus Lake has shallow waters and a sandy bottom, perfect for stress-free...

Cultus Lake Campground

52. Cultus Lake Campground

Visit Cutltus Lake Campground, and jet ski to your heart’s content! Staying here gives you direct access to one of the few lakes in the Deschutes...

Pringle Falls Campground

53. Pringle Falls Campground

Like Pringles chips, once you pop (into this campground), the fun don’t stop! Take in the scenic beauty of the rushing Deschutes River, which...

Cultus Corral Horse Camp

54. Cultus Corral Horse Camp

Saddle up! The 10 non-reservable sites at this campground, which sits close to the Cultus River in a blanket of conifer trees, is perfect for you...

Gull Point Campground

55. Gull Point Campground

Gulf Point Campground sees heavy use--with good reason. Perched next to the Wickiup Reservoir, the campground and adjacent day-use area offer great...

Allingham Campground

56. Allingham Campground

This quaint and quiet campground sits along the Metolius River and is a popular place for fly fisherman, or the adventurer who wants to avoid the...

Allen Springs Campground

57. Allen Springs Campground

Sitting on the bank of the mighty Metolius River, the 16 non-reservable sites at Allen Springs Campground are better suited to tents than RVs,...

Jack Creek Campground

58. Jack Creek Campground

The large, flat and shady sites at Jack Creek Campground are ideal for bigger groups and RVers. The 19 non-reservable sites sit near picturesque...

Windy Group Campground

59. Windy Group Campground

Windy Group Campground lives up to its name; popular water activities on nearby Crescent Lake include sailing and windsurfing—just be sure to hold...

North Twin Lake Campground

60. North Twin Lake Campground

Swim and fish to your heart’s content at North Twin Lake Campground; a small, sandy beach, and nearby boat launch make this a perfect retreat for...

South Campground

61. South Campground

Choose your adventure at South Campground, from hiking, horseback riding, and birding, to boating on beautiful Hosmer Lake. The 23 sites are large,...

Trapper Creek Campground

62. Trapper Creek Campground

With large, comfortable sites, lush huckleberry bushes, and the perfect location alongside Odell Lake, Trapper Creek Campground just may be the...

Lower Bridge Campground

63. Lower Bridge Campground

The Metolius River may be a little rough, but we wouldn’t say you’ll find a bridge over troubled water here. Snag one of the 12 non-reservable...

South Twin Lake Campground

64. South Twin Lake Campground

Hide away at South Twin Lake Campground; surrounded by dense, heavy forest, you’ll feel like you’re world’s away from busy, bustling streets....

Makenzie
Makenzie: Big and open camp spots, also warm water and can be a popular place to swim.
Link Creek Campground

65. Link Creek Campground

Whether you’re seeking sunshine or snow, Link Creek Campground is your best bet. Located next to Suttle Lake, the campground is the perfect base...

Terra
Terra: We stayed here in the off-season which was lovely as it was fairly quiet and relaxed. The campground is great for families; the...
McKay Crossing Campground

66. McKay Crossing Campground

Peaceful silence. . . note the chirp of birds and the tinkle of water running through a creek: sounds more like you’re staying at a spa than a...

Big Cove Boat In Campgrounds

67. Big Cove Boat In Campgrounds

If you’re truly looking to get away from it all--including the sound of motors running and tires spinning--then the boat-in campground at Big Cove...

Cow Meadow Campground

68. Cow Meadow Campground

Most of the campgrounds in Deschutes National Forest have a similar appeal: shaded by tall ponderosa pines; and with little grass underfoot, they...

Lava Flow (North) Campground

69. Lava Flow (North) Campground

The six sites at Lava Flow campground give you lots of peace, seclusion, and--unsurprisingly--easy access to the nearby lava flow! The campground...

Little Cove Boat-In Campgrounds

70. Little Cove Boat-In Campgrounds

Snag some much deserved seclusion on the edge of Little Cove. The five boat-in or hike-in sites offer plenty of privacy and a rustic feel--which...

Little Fawn Campground

71. Little Fawn Campground

Don’t get your hoofed creatures confused: Little Fawn Campground actually sits on Elk Lake. Plenty of hiking trails, a sandy beach, and a nearby...

Quinn Meadow Horse Camp

72. Quinn Meadow Horse Camp

Dubbed a “high end” campground by the folks at the Forest Service, Quinn River Campground provides paved roads, picnic tables, roomy sites, and...

Sheep Bridge Campground

73. Sheep Bridge Campground

With extra large camping areas, the 23 sites at Sheep Bridge Campground are perfect for big RVs, big families, or folks who just like to spread it...

West Cultus Boat In

74. West Cultus Boat In

Rev up your engines to make it to this campground—your boat engines, that is! The 12 boat-in tent sites are located on the west side of Cultus Lake...

West South Twin Campground

75. West South Twin Campground

Squeezed in between two lakes—Wickiup Reservoir and South Twin Lake—this campground has 24 spacious sites up for grabs. The waterfront location...

Contorta Point Group Campground

76. Contorta Point Group Campground

Bond with a big group of friends or family on the shores of Crescent Lake at this group campground. The two group sites can hold 40 people each,...

Spring Campground

77. Spring Campground

Spring Campground might be a bit of a misnomer—it’s actually open from mid May through September. This spot is super popular in the summer months,...

Sunset Cove Campground

78. Sunset Cove Campground

Situated right next to Odell Lake, Sunset Cove Campground is a fisherman’s paradise—although it can get windy out on the water, so be in charge of...

Boundary Springs Campground

79. Boundary Springs Campground

Popular for ATV and hunting enthusiasts, the quiet Boundary Springs Campground borders state land in the southeast corner of the Crescent area....

Whitefish Horse Camp

80. Whitefish Horse Camp

Horse camp? More like horse heaven! Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but the 18 sites at Whitefish Horse Camp are quite nice—each site comes with a...

China Hat Campground

81. China Hat Campground

Located smack dab in the middle of the East Fort Rock OHV Trail System, China Hat Campground is popular with ATVers and other off-road vehicle...

Candle Creek Campground

82. Candle Creek Campground

Don’t be surprised when you hear a roaring rush of water when you camp at Candle Creek—the campground sits right where the Metolius River turns...

Indian Ford Campground

83. Indian Ford Campground

Hiking and biking enthusiasts, snag a spot at Indian Ford and take advantage of the diversity of trails that lead straight out of the campground....

Pine Rest Campground

84. Pine Rest Campground

Snuggle up next to your neighbors at the teeny tiny Pine Rest Campground; you’ll find just seven tent-only campsites here. But what the campground...

Pioneer Ford Campground

85. Pioneer Ford Campground

Pioneer Ford Campground’s remoteness is a big draw; the campground gets pretty busy fielding campers looking for an escape beneath the scents of...

Scout Lake Campground

86. Scout Lake Campground

During the heat of the summer, there’s no better place to cool off than Scout Lake—we swear (scout’s honor)! The 10 campsites at Scout Lake...

South Shore Campground

87. South Shore Campground

A pleasant breeze makes this a popular spot for windsurfers, although you’ll see plenty of campers lounging the day away beneath the Ponderosa...

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Hipcamper Natala

Wonderful spot -- where almost every camp site is lakeside! Each site is equipped with a fire ring, picnic table and parking. During the summer this is a popular spot, with lots of families. I went in the Fall (October) and it was practically empty as the services had terminated. Still just so lovely -- temp drops at night and the water was too cold for swimming (but in warmer temps, this is a lovely lake swim). Wonderful spot.

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Hipcamper Makenzie

This is the trailhead for South Sister so if your camping beware that hikers come in at all hours of the night so don't be alarmed if you see people looking for campsites late at night or people who are sleeping in their car.

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Hipcamper Anna

This campground is situated right next to the lake but shaded beneath the trees. Not a ton of privacy between sites but also not very busy! It is a .5 mile walk to the falls and the Paulina Lake loop makes for a great running trail. Sunriver is only 35 minutes away if you need any quick amenities, or drop in on Bend (fantastic town) which is about 1 hour north.

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Hipcamper Tamara

We loooooved this campground. It's not too big and the sites are spacious and private. Plenty of shade. There's a trail that leaves from the campground, or there are several just a short drive away. Hood River is about a 15 minute drive away, as is a state park where you can get a shower for $2/person (and load up on water). When we were there, there was no water at the campground due to contamination, although the flush toilets still worked. Easy to gather firewood and berries.

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Hipcamper Tally

The "resort" at Elk Lake offers campsites, cabins, a boat launch, dock & a restaurant (try the Eggs Benedict). The classic vintage cabins range from $140-$200 a night which seemed steep for a shack with mice crawling in the walls. I'd probably camp next time.

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Hipcamper Makenzie

Great Lake for paddle boarding, the lake itself is super shallow and only gets to nine feet deep.

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Hipcamper Makenzie

Big and open camp spots, also warm water and can be a popular place to swim.

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Hipcamper Alison

Beautiful! No problems navigating the dirt road in 23ft RV -spots still available at 6pm. Widely spaced out sites, plenty of tree coverage, VERY dusty. Left $10 payment in the envelope slot, next day the camp worker told us the payment wasn't there. Stolen?!!

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Hipcamper Annie

There is a path to the marsh kayak ramp between campsites 14 and 15, so people walk through the area regularly. All sites seem to have reasonable shade coverage.

Hipcamper Anna

This site is right on Paulina Creek which is perfect for a quick dunk! A 7 mile hiking trail to the falls and Paulina Lake leaves right from camp.

Hipcamper Joe+Kathrina

Such a great site. Half the campground sites are on the highway side and the other half is facing Odell Lake - we're talking view of the lake, steps from the lake, right by the lake! If you have a kayak or little boat even better. It wasn't busy either when we went in end of August. Sites are big enough you feel separate from your neighbors. No running water, bathroom is what you'd expect but nothing beats the sites right on the water.

Hipcamper Terra

We stayed here in the off-season which was lovely as it was fairly quiet and relaxed. The campground is great for families; the kids fished and we enjoyed the small hiking trail that runs around the lake. The campground was mostly quiet; however, be prepared for a moderate amount of road noise (including semi truck air brakes) from the highway on the far side of the lake.

We lucked out and scored coveted site #9, which is perfect for two families (as it's a double site). It's on the end so has more privacy than the others but is also right on the water with boat tie-ups. Sites #10-14 are also waterside but are more open and exposed. There will be some foot traffic from the nearby lakeside walking trail but for us it wasn't obtrusive.

Hipcamper Nicole

While this cg is serene, clean and easy to access, I was deeply disappointed that my tent and tarp were stolen. I had hoped the rangers had merely broken down my camp thinking it was abandoned while I was away for a couple hours, but after contacting them they said it was instead stolen, also noting they have had more thefts lately. It was an expensive family tent and shameful to steal shelter. How can we enjoy camping now if we have to lock up the entire camp every time we go on a hike???

Hipcamper Krysta

This is a great spot for tent camping! There's not much privacy in between the spaces, but the view you get with the waterfront spots is worth it! Beware, the drive down there isn't the most fun. Much of the roads are washboard roads, so our travel trailer didn't enjoy it too much. Also a good spot if you like water sports. Great for kayaking, boating, canoe, paddle board. And just swimming! If I go back I won't risk the trailer again.

History of Deschutes National Forest

In 1908, the Deschutes National Forest was established from parts of the Blue Mountains, Cascade, and Fremont National Forests. In 1911, parts of the Deschutes National Forest were split off to form the Ochoco and Paulina National Forests and parts of the Cascade and Oregon National Forests were added to the Deschutes. In 1915, the lands of the Paulina National Forest were rejoined to the Deschutes National Forest. Nestled along the Cascade Mountains, the Deschutes National Forest is one of the most popular recreation forests in the Pacific Northwest. Truly a four-season vacationland, the forest attracts more than 3 million people every year to camp, fish, hike, hunt, ski, and enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities. The forest also provides variety of commodities.