Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area Visitors' Guide
Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area was established in 1983, with the initial donation of land by the Oregon Wildlife Foundation (OWF) of 2,758 acres. In 1986 OWHF donated an additional 5,158 acres of land to the department. The Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area was initially established to provide permanent public angler access. However, especially with the 1986 acquisition, the wildlife area has grown to provide enhanced wildlife and fish habitat (i.e. through removal of livestock, riparian vegetation improvements, etc.) and more wildlife-oriented recreational activities such as hunting, boating, hiking and biking.
In 2015, ODFW partnered with the Trust for Public Land to acquire 10,198 acres of upland and tributary habitat for the wildlife area. The Woosley Tract of Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area offers a very remote experience and can be accessed by boat only.
Best time to visit: Spring for wildflowers, songbirds, and viewing bighorn sheep lambs. Summer and fall for fishing. Fall for big game hunting. Fall and winter for upland bird hunting.
Visiting hours: always open
What to see and do: Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area is very popular for a variety of activities including steelhead, salmon, and trout fishing, big game hunting, upland bird hunting, mountain biking, hiking, boating, and wildflower viewing. Public access is limited to people who hike, mountain bike or boat to the area. Steelhead fishing is very popular. The Woosley Tract is popular for remote big game and chukar hunting, and a remote hiking experience. It can only be accessed by boat via the mouth of Oak, Ferry, and Ward canyons.
- Wildlife: mule deer, bighorn sheep, river otter, coyote, golden eagle, red- tailed hawk, peregrine falcon, Lewis’s woodpecker, California quail, ring- necked pheasant, common merganser, mallard, bufflehead, and a diversity of riparian and upland songbird species
- Facilities: boat ramp, campgrounds, restrooms, trails, parking lot
- Nearby: Camping is available at Deschutes River State Recreation Area at the mouth of the Deschutes River, slightly more than one mile downstream.
Directions: The wildlife area is located 17 miles east of The Dalles, off I-84. Take the Celilo Exit from I-84 and continue four miles east to Deschutes State Park. The wildlife area begins 1.2 miles south of the state park. The Woosley tract can be accessed by boat only. Most people access via BLM boat ramp Pine Tree and take out at BLM boat ramp Beavertail. The boat ramps can be accessed from the BLM access road that runs downstream from Sherar’s Bridge Road.
Address and Phone:
Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area
78430 Dodson Road
Tygh valley, OR 97063
- Draft updated Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area Management Plan -- January 2021 (pdf)
- Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area Management Plan (pdf)
- Wildlife Area Administrative Rules