Bureau of Land Management National Park Service US Fish and Wildlife Service US Forest Service

Whychus Creek, Oregon

Managing Agency:

U.S. Forest Service, Deschutes National Forest

Designated Reach:

October 28, 1988. From its source to the gauging station 800 feet upstream from the intake of McAllister Ditch.


Wild — 6.6 miles; Scenic — 8.8 miles; Total — 15.4 miles.

Please note that this creek is still listed in the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act as "Squaw Creek," the name by which it was originally known and designated.

On December 8, 2005, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved the name change of Squaw Creek and other public place names that used the term "squaw." However, the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act has not yet been amended to reflect this name change. Making this change officially in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act requires a technical correction, which is underway. Until then, we make note of the fact that legally the designation is for Squaw Creek, and we have a placeholder for that name, but we are proceeding under the name Whychus Creek and will delete all references to Squaw Creek when the amendment is completed.

Whychus Creek


Whychus Creek Management Plan (1.4 MB PDF)

Photo Credit: Unknown

Whychus Creek

The name Whychus, meaning "the place we cross the water," was chosen for the creek based on its strong historical and legal usage.

The three forks of Whychus Creek begin in the Three Sisters Wilderness on the east slope of the Cascade Range in Central Oregon. The river's outstandingly remarkable values include geology, hydrology, fish, scenery, prehistory and traditional cultural use.

Glacial and volcanic events have created complex and diverse landscapes, including steep and narrow canyons, deep bedrock canyons, numerous waterfalls and a variety of channel shapes and gradients. The fish populations are regionally significant due to the presence of a native strain of Interior Columbia Basin redband trout with little genetic influence from hatchery fish, and the imminent reintroduction of federally listed "threatened" steelhead.

The wild, unmodified scenery of the corridor is unique in the region, with distinctive visual elements provided by the change in elevation and varied geologic features. The headwaters of Whychus Creek, the glaciers on the Three Sisters Mountains are a symbol of Central Oregon and widely photographed.

Whychus Creek has a long history of use by Native Americans and provided a travel corridor to and from obsidian sources in the high Cascades. Traditional use by Native Americans is well documented.