Hills Creek hydropower

Generators / total output two 36 mw

Hills Creek project data

Dam length 2,235 ft 681.23 m
Height 304 ft 92.66 m
Elevation (NGVD*) 1,548 ft 471.8 m
Lake length 7.6 mi 14.72 km
Area when full 2,735 ac 1,106.8 ha
*National Geodetic Vertical Datum

Contact us about Hills Creek:
General: 541-684-4300
Recreation: 541-942-5631

Email us about Hills Creek

Hills Creek pamphlet

Hills Creek Dam & Reservoir

Hills Creek Dam and Lake

Hills Creek Dam is located at river mile 47.8 on the Middle Fork Willamette River, four miles southwest of Oakridge, Ore. It is an earthfill structure with a gated concrete spillway and outlet works for regulating lake levels. The dam was completed in 1961 at a cost of $46 million, and has since prevented more than $3.2 billion in potential flood damages. The reservoir controls runoff of a 390-square-mile drainage area, and the dam has two hydropower generating units capable of producing a total of 30 megawatts.

Hills Creek Dam works in coordination with Lookout Point, Dexter and Fall Creek dams to provide flood risk management, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation.

Hills Creek recreation

Birding: At more than 5,500 acres, the Hills Creek Dam and Reservoir provides habitat for a variety of wildlife, including several rare species. The reservoir is a designated stop along the Three Sisters section of the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail, a self-guided auto tour of nearly 200 prime birding destinations in the Oregon Cascades.

Camping, picnicking & boating: Recreation facilities at Hills Creek are operated by the U.S. Forest Service. Call the Middle Fork Ranger District Office at 541-782-2283 or click on one of the links for more information: Bingham Boat Ramp; Cline - Clark Picnic Area; C.T. Beach Picnic Area; Packard Creek Campground; or Sand Prairie Campground.


Getting around


Environmental stewardship at Hills Creek Dam

At more than 5,500 acres, the Hills Creek Dam and Reservoir provides habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife including several rare species. Below Hills Creek Dam, the Corps developed a 130-acre wildlife and wetland area which provides breeding habitat for rare amphibians and the western pond turtle. Uplands surrounding the Hills Creek Reservoir are primarily managed through an agreement with the Willamette National Forest.

To mitigate impacts from Corps dams on Chinook salmon and the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, the Corps constructed the Willamette Fish Hatchery near Oakridge and the holding ponds downstream of Dexter Dam. These facilities are operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with funds provided by the Corps. Additionally, the Corps supports ongoing efforts for the recovery of Oregon chub and bull trout within the Middle Fork Willamette River basin.

Flood risk management at Hills Creek Dam

Conservation season - April to November: None.
Flood season - November to March: Restrict pool to 1529 feet.

For more information, visit our Water page.