The Caribou Wilderness is a gentle, rolling, forested plateau spattered with tree-fringed lakes. Reminders of volcanic and glacial origin can be seen throughout these wildlands. Crater peaks, cinder cones and numerous large and small depressions have become beautiful lakes and are scattered throughout the plateau region.
Caribou Peaks, Black Cinder Rock, and Red Cinder are points of interest. The average elevation is 6,900 feet. The highest point, Red Cinder, is 8,370 feet. From here there are sweeping views of the majestic mountains that surround this primitive wilderness. Located on the eastern slopes of what was once Mount Tehama, this area is surrounded by the volcanic peaks of Swain Mountain, Bogard Buttes, Prospect Peak, Ash Butte, Red Cinder Cone and Mount Harkness.
The Forest cover is mostly lodgepole pine with a mixture of jeffrey pine, white and red fir, western white pine, and hemlock. In early summer, wildflowers brighten the trail and water lilies cluster in ponds.
Recreational opportunities in the Caribou Wilderness include hiking and backpacking, camping, orienteering, equestrian use, and fishing. The larger lakes that are deep enough to support fish are home to brook and rainbow trout. Birdwatching is also a popular wilderness pastime: some familiar birds that make their home in the Caribou include the bald eagle, osprey, common merganser, eared grebe, and many types of ducks. Winter brings many feet of snow, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities during the winter months.
The summer use period is approximately June 15 to October 15, although early spring could open up the lower elevations by Memorial Day, though heavy winter snows can last into June and July. Hypothermia can be a problem in spring and fall seasons with cold rains.
ADA Accessibility Notes
Caribou Wilderness recreation sites are primitive.
Pet Friendly Notes
Dogs are welcome in the Caribou Wilderness. Trail etiquette dictates that they be kept on leash to avoid attracting or affecting wildlife and to avoid conflicts with other users. Please clean up after pets...leave no trace!