The sunny, dry climate makes Jefferson County a popular recreation site for water sports, hiking, camping, fishing and golf. Nearby attractions include Indian Head Casino, The Cove Palisades at Lake Billy Chinook, the Metolius Wild & Scenic River, Lake Simtustus and the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area. The recreational opportunities are limitless.
- Established: 1914 (formed from Crook County)
- Area: 1,780 sq. mi.
Jefferson County is a culturally diverse region, which includes the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and a thriving Hispanic community.
- Jefferson County: 24,192
- Madras: 6,729
- Crooked River Ranch: 5,000
- Warm Springs: 4,000
- Culver: 1,474
- Metolius: 755
- Camp Sherman: 233
- Ashwood: 100
- Average High Temp – Jan: 41.7°F
- Average Low Temp – Jan: 21.6°F
- Average High Temp – Jul: 87.5°F
- Average Low Temp – Jul: 45.4°F
- Average Annual Precip: 10.9″
As the largest city in Jefferson County and the county seat, Madras is a diverse community with a rich history. Homesteaded at the turn of the 20th century and incorporated in 1911, dryland farming was the core of the local economy until irrigation arrived in 1937.
Madras is a caring community with significant collaboration between residents, businesses, government, service organizations and churches to provide a top-notch quality of life for all ages.
The city has an exceptional aquatic center, extensive green spaces, a trail system and a kids’ fishing pond – all surrounded by the Cascade mountains and nearby desert buttes.
The area is a diverse mix of manufacturing, agriculture, aviation, retail, education, business and government services. The surrounding farmland also remains an important economic contributor to the county.
The Madras Airport, a former World War II training base for B-17 pilots, is the site for Erickson Aero Tanker, a company that supplies air tanker support for wildland fire suppression.
Home to the Warm Springs, Wasco and Paiute Tribes, the Warm Springs Indian Reservation encompasses more than 644,000 acres. The treaty, signed by the Tribes in 1855 and pre-dating the state of Oregon, created a sovereign nation stretching from the crest of the Cascades to the Deschutes River.
Tribal government provides a variety of community services, including education, healthcare, public safety, business development, utilities, resource management and recreation. Hydropower, forestry, ranching and tourism help drive the tribal economy.
Just four miles southwest of Madras, Metolius provides residents and visitors with quiet, low-key charm. Once a booming railroad town, Metolius has a relaxed feel with its small restaurants, local market and community functions at the old railroad depot.
Its close proximity to Madras makes Metolius a popular choice for residents seeking the slower pace of small town life, but with easy access to the amenities of a larger community.
Metolius is poised for growth with naturally pure water, close proximity to electric power transmission lines, low cost electric and natural gas and available land in the Jefferson County Enterprise Zone.
Developed in 1972 as a vacation home site, the 11,000 acre Crooked River Ranch is located amid the rugged beauty of the canyons formed by the Crooked and Deschutes Rivers. Residents and visitors enjoy spectacular views of the river canyons and surrounding Cascade Mountain Range.
The picturesque, 18-hole golf course offers virtually year-round play. Described as player-friendly with a bite, this par 71 course features breathtaking rim rock views.
The Ranch’s commercial area is zoned for retail, professional and light industrial. The Ranch also has a variety of recreational opportunities, including basketball and tennis courts, a ball diamond and horse stables. Hiking, camping, and fishing are also popular outdoor activities.
Surrounded by acres of fertile farmland, Culver is the gateway to the water sports paradise, Cove Palisades and Billy Chinook Reservoir. The small, but busy, downtown boasts several restaurants and retail outlets.
Culver has its own school district, with a thriving high school sports program. The town’s central location makes it an attractive hometown for commuters working in Central Oregon’s larger communities.
Located on the Metolius River, Camp Sherman is fifteen miles west of Sisters. The nearby headwaters of the Metolius River bubble from the ground, creating one of the largest spring-fed rivers in the United States. A premiere fly fishing site, the Metolius Wild and Scenic River area provides visitors with an unbeatable scenic and tranquil experience.
Outdoor enthusiasts have virtually unlimited recreational choices. Mountain biking, hiking, camping, water sports, cross-country skiing and even downhill skiing at nearby Hoodoo Ski Bowl are all just minutes away.
Area attractions include Blue and Suttle Lakes, Black Butte, Mount Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack and miles of trails throughout the Metolius Recreation Area.
The quiet community of Ashwood resides 32 miles northeast of Madras. Once a booming ranching and mining town, Ashwood is still a viable agricultural community.
The small, unincorporated town features a post office, school and church. A bit off the beaten path, Ashwood is also popular with rockhounds for its abundance of jasper, thundereggs and petrified wood.