10 Beautiful Lakes In Oregon, USA - Updated 2024

lakes in oregon
| 5 min read

Oregon, USA, is known for its picturesque view of nature and wilderness. As one of America’s most geographically diverse states, it is home to varying mountains and volcanoes, abundant bodies of water, and a mix of evergreen and deciduous forests. Examples of famous natural attractions include the snow-capped Mount Hood. The state’s geography also meant a wide selection of lakes scattered all throughout. One of the famous lakes in the state is Crater Lake, which is also the deepest lake in the country. Other famous lakes in the state include Lost Lake, a hidden gem that reflects the beauty of iconic Mount Hood. There are so many lakes to see in the state, each offering unique experiences to travelers. Here’s a list of the 10 beautiful lakes in Oregon, USA.

1. Paulina Lake

Paulina Lake, wetlands and snag
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Neptunerover used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Paulina Lake is one of the twin lakes located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. It is easily accessible from the nearest city, Bend. Visitors of the lake are in for a one-of-a-kind experience since there are many things to do here. But here’s a quick fact first: the average depth of the lake is 165 feet (5o meters), which is deeper than the East Lake located nearby. The lake is an excellent fishing, swimming, and hot-spring soaking destination. Boats can be rented from the Paulina Lodge, which is located on the western edge of the lake. An abundance of marine wildlife exists here, from rainbow trout to the prized kokanee (sockeye salmon).

Paulina Lake

Address: Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Deschutes County, Oregon, United States

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2. Wallowa Lake

Wallowa Lake
Source: Photo by Flickr user Eliza Adam used under CC BY-ND 2.0

When viewed from above, Wallowa Lake takes on a unique shape. It is actually classified as a ribbon lake due to its unique geography formed by a series of glaciers. Its unique geography also lends it an otherworldly charm. During the morning, the lake’s waters reflect the sun’s light and make for an Instagram-worthy shot. The waters are also calm, making for a perfect place to do kayaking and paddleboarding. It’s the ultimate destination for campers, thanks to an abundance of camping and RV spots at the southern end of the lake. Locals like to swim in the lake since it’s crystal clear and offers stunning views of Sacajawea Peak.

Wallowa Lake

Address: Wallowa County, Oregon, USA

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3. Sparks Lake

Sparks Lake, Oregon (2012) - 07
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Another Believer used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Just 25 miles (40 km) from the city of Bend, Sparks Lake is another lake nestled in Deschutes National Forest. Many tourists and locals enjoy going to the lake for its various recreational activities. These activities include — but not limited to — kayaking, fishing, canoeing, and camping. Who could resist the picturesque mountain views coupled with flourishing flora and fauna? Swimming by the lake is also a delight since the water doesn’t get any deeper. Camping spots are also plentiful, but it is recommended to stay near the Soda Creek.

Sparks Lake

Address: Deschutes County, Oregon

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4. Waldo Lake

Shadow Bay, Waldo Lake, Oregon
Source: Photo by Flickr user Bonnie Moreland used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Up high in the Cascade Mountains is a natural, non-alkali lake with a surface so clear that any visitor can see its deep bottom. Waldo Lake is one of the purest lakes not only in continental America but also in the whole world. Truly, it is a hidden gem of the Cascades. The surrounding area of the lake is part of the pristine Willamette National Forest. Many visitors admire the lake for its unrivaled beauty and serenity. On a clear day, one can see up to the lake’s bottom because of the crystal clear waters. Boating on the lake is a popular activity. Regulated fishing is also pastime for visiting locals.

Waldo Lake

Address: Cascade Mountains, Lane County, Oregon, USA

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5. Detroit Lake

Detroit Lake.jpg
Source: Photo by Flickr user Sheila Sund used under CC BY 2.0

Detroit Lake is a man-made lake created in the 1950s as part of the Willamette Valley Projects. Today, it serves as flood control and as a source of water and irrigation for major communities such as Salem, Oregon. It is also a popular recreation area in the state today, boasting nearly 300 campground sites and endless recreational activities. Some of these recreational activities include boating and various water sports. However, the water tends to fluctuate during certain times of the year, so some areas in the lake are only open for a season. However, that doesn’t stop visitors from experiencing the lake’s sparkling waters and enjoying the views of the snow-capped Mount Jefferson.

Detroit Lake

Address: Linn / Marion Counties, Oregon, USA

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6. Trillium Lake

Trillium Lake at Mount Hood in Oregon 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jeffhollett used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another man-made lake that is popular among Oregon locals and tourists is Trillium Lake. The lake was created by the United States’ Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1960. The lake was so named because of the presence of Trillium flowers in the area. But perhaps, kayakers will surely take notice first of the breathtaking Mount Hood in the background. This is a popular destination for campers and backpackers, who prefer to see the great wilderness. The Trillium Lake Trail goes around the whole lake, and it is a great place to explore the local flora and fauna.

Trillium Lake

Address: Clackamas County, Oregon, USA

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7. Lost Lake

Lost Lake
Source: Photo by Flickr user Deborah Lee Soltesz used under CC0

Could this be the missing companion to that perfect Mount Hood souvenir photo? Yes, since Lost Lake is one of the lakes closer to Mount Hood. The natural lake is a diverse hotspot of flora and fauna. As a matter of fact, the lake is part of a proposed wilderness area that seeks to preserve the area for generations. Today, it is a popular recreational area with close to 125 campsites. Boat, kayak, and canoe rentals are available from the northern and southern parts of the lake. No other lake comes close to having tranquil waters, abundant wildlife, and picturesque view than Lost Lake itself.

Lost Lake

Address: Hood River County, Oregon, USA

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8. East Lake

Overview of East Lake
Source: Photo by Flickr user daveynin used under CC BY 2.0

Regular guests of Newberry National Volcanic Monument are keenly aware of Paulina Lake’s bigger “sibling”: East Lake. Like its twin, East Lake is formed by a series of massive volcanic eruptions a thousand years ago. Accessing the lake is easy — a hike to the east of Paulina Lake and you’ll reach the lake. The lake along with its twin sister is the perfect jump-off point for exploring Newberry Volcano. A lone resort along the shore offers cabin accommodation, tent, and RV sites, as well as watercraft rentals. The pristine waters invite travelers to try fishing — catch of the day ranges from trout to the Atlantic salmon.

East Lake

Address: Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Deschutes County, Oregon, United States

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9. Diamond Lake

Diamond Lake
Source: Photo by Flickr user brx0 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in the Umpqua National Forest is Diamond Lake. The lake is among the most developed on this list. Numerous recreational activities are offered by locals, ranging from boating and fishing to biking and swimming. From afar, the snow-capped peaks of Mount Bailey and Mount Thielsen are visible. Diamond Lake Resort offers generous lodging and restaurants for travelers looking for a more traditional accommodation experience. The abundance of trout in the lake attracts anglers looking for a catch. The cold waters are conducive to marine wildlife as well as perfect for swimmers. Around the lake, paved trails offer bikers a shot of adrenaline.

Diamond Lake

Address: Douglas County, Oregon, USA

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10. Crater Lake (from USD 2.0)

Crater Lake National Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Maarten Brinkerink used under CC BY 2.0

Crater Lake is arguably the most famous lake in the whole of Oregon. By facts alone, it is the deepest lake in America. It is not hard to see why this lake has garnered so much appeal. The lake was formed as a result of violent eruptions that resulted in the formation of a wide caldera. Today, the lake makes for a wonderful postcard view — the deep blue hues on the water’s surface is unique and striking. Tourists who wanted to see Crater Lake are encouraged to take a tour especially this one from Viator. This three-day tour package is inclusive of accommodation, meals, and even wine tasting. Plus, tourists also get to stop by Newberry National Volcanic Monument, which is also a popular attraction in the state.

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Crater Lake 3-Day Tour from Portland

Duration: 3 days

3 reviews

Explore Oregon's famous lakes

Oregon really takes pride on its great wilderness. The state’s geographical diversity means that there are lot of picturesque mountains and breathtaking lakes to explore. Some lakes are too good to be true, thanks to crystal-clear waters and awe-inspiring views. So, take a break from the city life and explore Oregon’s famous lakes now.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Kenrick Buduan loves writing. He writes about various stuff, focusing mostly on analysis of society and technology. He contributes to various news platforms too. As a writer, he yearns to travel...Read more

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