The Ochoco National Forest is located in Central Oregon in the United States, north and east of the City of Prineville, location of the National Forest Headquarters. It encompasses 850,000 acres (3,440 km2) of rimrock, canyons, geologic oddities, dense pine forests, and high desert terrain, as well as the headwaters of the North Fork of the Crooked River. A 1993 Forest Service study estimated that the extent of old growth in the Forest was 95,000 acres (38,000 ha).
In descending order of forestland area, it occupies lands within Crook, Harney, Wheeler, and Grant counties. The national forest also administers the Crooked River National Grassland, which is in Jefferson County. The Ochoco National Forest is composed of three ranger districts:
- Crooked River National Grassland
- Paulina Ranger District, based outside of Paulina
- Lookout Mountain Ranger District, based in Prineville. This district is composed of the former Prineville and Big Summit Ranger Districts.
The former Snow Mountain Ranger District is now administered by the Malheur National Forest
, as part of the Emigrant Creek Ranger District.
The forest contains three wilderness areas comprising 36,200 acres (146 km2):
- Mill Creek Wilderness at 17,400 acres (70 km2)
- Bridge Creek Wilderness at 5,400 acres (22 km2)
- Black Canyon Wilderness at 13,400 acres (54 km2)
Popular recreational activities in the Ochoco National Forest include hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, horseback riding, stargazing, birding and rock hounding.